«This is the charmingest place we have ever lived in for repose and restfulness, superb scenery whose beauty undergoes a perpetual change from one miracle to another, yet never runs short of fresh surprises and new inventions». That’s what the great novelist and writer Mark Twain wrote when he came to spend his summer by the Lake Lucerne in 1897. It was him who discovered this marvelous place for tourists back in the 19th century and thanks to him, Lucerne is one the most famous Swiss cities and one of the visitors’ favorite. Let’s have a closer look!
Perhaps the most iconic landmark of Lucerne is Kapellbrücke – the oldest wood bridge in Europe. Its history dates back to the 14th century when the bridge was originally built to protect the city and to connect the old and the new parts of the city parted by the Reuss River. In 1993 Kapellbrücke was almost destroyed by fire but it got reconstructed later. Today we have an amazing opportunity to walk through the bridge and get amused by the unique paintings that tell us about what life in Switzerland was like centuries ago. Another fantastic part of the bridge is its 140 feet tall octagonal tower Wasserturm that was used as a lighthouse, as a prison and as treasure house. Walk over the bridge, stop for a few minutes and enjoy the scenery of the old Lucerne and the Lucerne Lake framed by the Swiss Alps– that is something that will stay in your memory forever!
Another well-known symbol of Lucerne is the Lion of Lucerne monument. Carved into the cliff, this breathtakingly beautiful sculpture commemorates the Swiss Guards who gave their lives protecting the life of Louis XVI during the French Revolution. On the 10th of August, 1792, the revolutionaries stormed the Tuilerie Palace in Paris and more than six hundred guards were killed defending it. The lion lies impaled by a spear on the shield with the image of the fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the King. Mark Twain described the monument in his work “A Tramp Abroad”: “…the Lion of Lucerne is the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”.
The Old Town of Lucerne is known for its splendid medieval architecture. One of the highlights is the massive part of the Museggmauer Wall. Built in 1386 as the rampart wall, it is still almost entirely intact. Four towers are open to the public so don’t miss the chance and walk to the top to contemplate the magnificent panorama of the city. The Zyt Tower has the oldest city clock (built in 1535) which chimes every hour one minute earlier than other city clocks!
Moving on to more modern buildings (we’re sure it’s just impossible to get enough of Lucerne’s charming architecture!). The Church of St. Leodegar (also known as Hofkirche) rises on the shore of Lake Lucerne just where the first monastery of Lucerne was located. The original Roman church burnt down on the first day of Easter in 1633 but the twin needle towers survived and today they gather admiring tourists and the German renaissance lovers. Here you can even find a gorgeous organ that has almost 3.000 pipes and can imitate the sounds of rain or thunderstorm. Definitely a must-visit!
As many Swiss cities, Lucerne embodies the perfect combination of human’s creations and masterpieces of nature: shimmering turquoise Reuss River, Lake Lucerne with its graceful swans and gorgeous mountains among which stands out the iconic Mount Pilatus. Legend has it that this truly impressive monument of nature is the home of a dragon with healing powers. Some people say Pontius Pilatus himself was buried in Lake Pilatus. To believe the myths or not – it’s all up to you! The mountain offers a wide spectrum of activities from winter sports to picnics and barbecues. Take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway and go to the top of Mount Pilatus – it will feel like the top of the world, promised!
Finally, if you want to feel the national spirit of Lucerne, come to see one of the city’s numerous festivals. The end of winter is celebrated with Fasnacht, a chaotic and joyful party where people dress up in costumes, play music and walk in parades. The Lucerne Festival of classical music, the Fumetto comics festival, the national music festival – Lucerne even hosts the Cheese Festival! So don’t be shy and have fun in Lucerne!
Whether you are going to spend here a few hours or stay for a week, Lucerne will welcome you with the most jaw-dropping views and breathtaking experiences. Add this beautiful city on your bucket list and have the time of your life in Fantastic Switzerland!