The architecture of the church, erected in the latter half of the 13th century is typical of the medieval mendicant order. The Gothic structure boasts the pulpit with the most elaborate ornamentation in Switzerland; it dates from between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. Today the Franciscan Church is often used for concerts which can be mostly visited for free.


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What the people of Lucerne call the “Hofkirche” was originally Romanesque in conception; dedicated to patron saint Leodegar, and is Lucerne’s parish church today. Especially noteworthy is the facade. Mary’s altar (with a relief panel dating from 1500), and the souls’ altar. Except for its enormous appearance the organ which is found inside the church is a spectacle in itself. The total weight of the organ is 30 tons with 7374 pipes over 111 registers. A couple of minutes walking behind the church and you will find a beautiful and small park, where you can relax for a couple of minutes before continuing your tour around Lucerne.


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This bridge was constructed in the first half of the 14th century as part of the city’s fortifications. The painted panels added in the 17th century portray scenes of Swiss and local history, including the life of Lucerne’s patron saints. Originally, the Chapel Bridge served not only in its early days as a means of crossing the river on foot, but also as part of the town’s fortifications.


Unfortunately, on 18 August 1993 the bridge nearly completely burnt down. All that could be saved were the two bridgeheads and the Water Tower. The bridge was rebuilt in only eight months, allowing the Chapel Bridge to be reopened on 14 April 1994. However, about two-thirds of the iconic paintings, which made the bridge famous in the first place, got partially destroyed or damaged during the fire.


This octagonal tower, over 34 meters in height, was build around 1399 as part of the city’s fortifications. It has been used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber. It is now Lucerne’s trademark attraction, Switzerland’s most photographed monument, and one of the best things to visit in the city. The best way to take a great picture from the tower and the bridge is from one of the two bridges nearby (Seebrücke or Reussteg).


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The “Dying Lion of Lucerne” is one of the world’s most famous monuments. Carved out of rock, it commemorates the heroism in 1972 of Swiss soldiers who died attempting to protect the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world”. If possible, visit the monument in the early morning, before all the group tourists arrive in the afternoon, if you would like to take a great picture of the monument.


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The KKL Luzern on Europaplatz is the work of the Parisian architect Jean Nouvel and was built between 1995 and 2000. The main concert hall seats 1840 and ranks amongst the world’s best. The Lucerne hall, the auditorium and the museum of art also form part of this architectural masterpiece. The water which is floating even inside of the building and the three buildings together look like ships in a shipyard below an enormous roof (113 x 107 meter). Public and private tours are possible on application. If you are in Lucerne during winter time you should not miss out on the ice field, the huge Christmas tree and the possibility to enjoy the probably least expensive cheese fondue in town. For more information:

The Musegg Wall with its nine towers forms part of Lucerne’s historic fortifications. The clock on the Zyt Tower dates from 1535 and is the town’s oldest. It has the privilege of chiming the hours one minute before all the other clocks in the town. Four towers are open to the public (Männli-, Wacht-, Zyt-, Schirmertower). The easiest way to get up there is by foot. From the top of the wall you have an amazing view all over Lucerne and the lake. It’s also a great place to take pictures.


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The Château Gütsch since 1888 is a popular venue, which was renovated with much attention to detail. Easily reachable by a small elevator which brings your directly to the top or walking up the hill through the forest. From outside or inside, in this exclusive atmosphere high above the city of Lucerne you have the best lake view. If you walked up all the way and would like to take a rest, why not enjoy a cup of hot tea or a refreshing cocktail at the bar of the Château Gütsch.


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The oldest timber bridge in Switzerland was completed in 1408 as part of the city’s fortifications. It features 67 paintings depicting a Dance Macabre added between 1626 and 1635. This was the only place that chaff from cereals (Spreu) and foliage could be dumped into the river – hence the name of Spreuerbrücke (Chaff Bridge). Near the Spreuer Bridge you will find some nice places to sip on a cup of coffee on the Muehlenplatz while enjoying the surroundings.


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The Old Town features picturesque squares flanked by buildings bearing historical frescoes. Particularly worth seeing are the Weinmarkt, Mühlenplatz, Hirschenplatz, Kornmarkt with the town hall, and the Guildhall zu Pfistern with its eye-catching frescoes. And if you are already visiting the Guildhall zu Pfistern you might have a quick look at the market “Unter der Egg” (Tuesday and Saturday) and enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the multiple restaurants along the river.

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©2019 by Lukas Dubach.