We start our Rhine River Cruise with a post from our first stop, Lucerne, Switzerland. We are at the Kapellbrücke, also known as the Chapel Bridge. This bridge was built in 1333, and is the oldest bridge in Europe. Today, the Chapel Bridge runs from the Luzerner Theater on the southern bank of the Reuss River to St. Peter’s Chapel at Rathausquai; Lucerne’s old town boulevard. Zigzagging as it passes the Water Tower. The water tower is another landmark in Lucerne, and is even older than the bridge itself; built circa 1303.
In earlier centuries the Chapel Bridge was not only an important connection between the right and left shore parts of the town, but also served as part of the city fortifications. This is also why lake side wall of the bridge was built higher. Today the bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
As you walk along the bridge, the artwork overhead that dates back to the 1600s. These paintings show scenes from Lucerne’s and Switzerland’s past. This concept was developed by municipal clerk and scholar Renward Cysat. Artist Hans Wägmann painted the pictures and councilman Hans Rudolf von Sonnenberg wrote the accompanying text for the art. This is unique to this area.
Over the years the art has fallen prey to time and elements. Originally 158 pieces, 147 pieces survived into the early 1990s. Today less than fifty survive, and only thirty were fully restored after the 1993 fire. Part of the bridge was dismantled in 1834 to make place for the Schweizerhofquai lakeside avenue. Some artwork from the dismantled portion of the bridge was used to replace pieces destroyed by the 1993 fire. The damaged portions of the bridge were rebuilt. The bridge was reopened on April 14, 1994.
Weinmarkt Fountain dates back to 1481 and is perhaps Lucerne’s most beautiful. The current fountain is a mock of the original, which currently lies in the History Museum. Designed by renowned architect Konrad Lux, features of the fountain include the figure of St Mauritius and six medieval warriors scattered around the base.
St. Leodegar (St. Lucerne) was founded in the mid 700s AD, part of the monastery which in turn founded Lucerne. A Gothic church built in the 1100s AD to replace the earlier building preceded the existing German Renaissance building. The Gothic church was mostly destroyed by fire in 1633. Only the twin spires outside remain from the 12th century. Following the fire, this was one of the few churches built in the 1630’s during the Thirty Years War. Famous for it’s large size and rich art. Including the “Death of the Virgin” alter that dates to circa 1500, and one of the few items to survive the 1633 fire.
This is it from Lucerne, Switzerland. Join us next time in Strasbourg, France as we bring you more sights from along the Rhine River. If you would like more information on this cruise, or another trip you have in mind. Please contact us at 1.317.885.9855 or fill out and submit the form below. Here is the Cruise ebrochure.