June 16/2002

“Lucerne is an ancient place, mentioned for the first time in historical records, as “Lucaria” in the year 840. With the opening of the St. Gotthard Pass over the Alps, the growing town began to develop into the major intersection for trade between the Upper Rhine and Lombardy. In 1332, Lucerne joined the Confederation of three original Swiss cantons.”
Excerpt from Highlights of Lucerne, Switzerland By Kathryn Lemmon.

We went to Lucerne, 434 m above sea level, to meet relatives from Berne. The most famous landmark in Lucerne is the Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge in English. Check my links section for more links about Lucerne.

Kapellbruecke Marker
Plaque that explains the chapel bridge
This plaque is at one end of the bridge. It says:

In German:
Erbaut nach 1300 als Wehrgang des äusseren Befestingungsringes und als Verbindung zwischen den Stadtmauern beidseits der Reuss. Benant nach der St. Peterkapelle am rechtsufrigen Ende. Eine der ältesten erhaltenen, wenn auch ständig erneuerten hölzernen Brückenkonstruktionen Europas.

Im 19. Jahrhundert wurde die Brücke von ursprünglich 285m auf 200 m verkürzt. Der Bilderzyklus zur Geschichte Luzerns und der Eidgenossenschaft sowie der Stadtpatrone Leodgar und Mauritius wurde von Hans Heinrich Wegman 1614 begonnen. Konzept und Begleittexte von Stadschreiber Renward Cysat (1545-1614). Mit der Brücke ist der um 1350 erstelle Wasserturm verbunden, der auch als Gefängnis und Archivturm diente. Bis 1798 Aufbewahrungsort des Staatschatzes.

In English:
Built in 1300 as defense corridor of the outermost defense retainer and as bridge between the 2 sides of the city at the river Reuss. It is named after the St. Peter’s Chapel on the right side of the river. It is one of the oldest, but constantly renewed wooden bridge constructions of Europe.

In the 19th century the bridge was shortened from 285m to 200 m. The gable pictures inside the bridge tell the story of Lucerne’s history and of the Swiss Confederates, as well as the story of martyrdom of the patron saints of the city, St. Leodgar and St. Mauritius. They were started in 1614 by Hans Heinrich Wegman. The concept and accompanying text were created by Renward Cysat (1545-164). The bridge is joined to the water tower. It measures approximately 140 feet from top to bottom, and it served as a watch tower and corner pillar on the city’s fortifications, as well as a prison, a torture chamber and for the city archives. Until 1798 the treasury was also stored there. Today, the Water Tower is used as the Guild Hall of the Artillery Association.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *