Luzern, Switzerland

Prof. Marcelo Becker (D.Sc.) 


Luzern grew from a small fishing village of ancient origins on the shores of Lake Lucerne with the founding of the Benedictine monastery in around 700 AD. In 1,601 the city was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, with the waves of the tsunami repeatedly pounding the town after being reflected back against it by the far shore of Lake Lucerne. 

Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m long wooden bridge originally built in 1333, although much of it had to be replaced after a 1,993 fire. Partway across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark. 

Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Mühlenplatz, the Spreuerbrücke or Mill Bridge zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1,408, it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe and features a series of medieval-style 17th Century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger titled Dance of Death. Meglinger's paintings portray various conditions of men and women, priests and warriors, princes and men of learning, the young bride, the devout nun, the lawmaker, the hunter, the miller, even the artist himself, are all depicted at the mercy of Death, with his mocking smile and his ever-changing garb. These paintings, suitable for a Benedictine abbey, are seen by every inhabitant of beautiful Lucerne who crosses the river via the Spreuerbrücke. It has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1,568.

Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off Lowenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1,792 during the French Revolution, when the mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.


 View of Luzern from one tall watch tower, the tall watch tower and wall that protected the city from invasions, and the wood brigde.

  Wasserturm and Kapellbrücke - the town's two most famous landmarks, Luzern HB, and view of Luzern from the lake.

 The Lion Monument, the Wasserturm, and the Pillatus Mountain.