Chapel Bridge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nitatravels on October 7, 2004

Okay, if you're staying in the Old Town, you probably recognized the classic, well-known Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrucke) and the Water Tower (Wasserturm) from postcards. You may have even glanced up quickly at the paintings as you crossed the bridge, laden with luggage on the way to your hotel. Well, schlepping luggage doesn't qualify as a true visit to the bridge, so check in, unpack, and head back out to truly appreciate and enjoy the Chapel Bridge, one of Swizerland's most famous landmarks.

Spanning the Reuss River diagonally from St. Peter's Chapel to the Water Tower, the Chapel Bridge is prized for its history, as well as the 120 triangular paintings on the wooden ceiling. This bridge was built early in the 14th century and was an integral part of medieval Luzern life. In the 17th century, the paintings that adorn the ceiling were added. These richly detailed works depict Swiss history and include such famous events at William Tell shooting the apple.

As you walk the bridge, you'll notice quite clearly the difference between the newly built section and the little-remaining older section. An unfortunate fire burned a good portion of this historical masterpiece in the early 1990s. Fortunately, though, the restoration is true to the original. Note that the paintings are copies; the originals, a national treasure, are safely stored.

Be sure to stop at the Water Tower connected to the bridge. Throughout history it has been used for many things, from a jail to a torture chamber, to a souvenir shop.

So take some time, walk the bridge slowly, head tilted upward, and absorb some Swiss history, depicted on the triangular paintings above your head. Be sure to get a photo from the riverside, with the cascading flowers on the sides in all their glory.

Chapel Bridge
Rathausquai and Bahnhofstr
Lucerne, Switzerland

© LP 2000-2009