Lucerne is a city in Switzerland and the capital of the German-speaking canton of the same name. It is located in the heart of the country in the central part of the Swiss plateau on the shore of Lake Firvaldstettsky. Lucerne is a picturesque city with a wonderful medieval core, elegant historic buildings and a charming atmosphere. It is a great starting point for exploring Switzerland’s natural attractions.
Geography and climate
Lucerne is located in the center of the Swiss plateau in the northern part of Lake Firwaldstet at the head of the Royce River. The climate is temperate marine. Summer is warm with an average temperature of 17-20 ° C, winters are cool and rainy with temperatures from – 2 to +3 ° C.
- The population is more than 80 thousand people.
- Area – 29.11 km2.
- Language is German.
- Currency is Swiss franc.
- Time – UTC +1, in the summer +2.
- The visa is Schengen.
- The highest point is Mount Sonnenberg (800 m).
- There are several markets in the old town of Lucerne: Wochenmarkt (farmers’ market on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Bahnhofstrasse, Jesuitenplatz and on the Royce River embankment in the Town Hall area), Fish Market (held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays), Flea Market (every Saturday from May to October at Reusssteg).
- The Christmas market in Lucerne is one of the most beautiful and largest in Switzerland. It starts in the second half of December and ends on December 23-24.
There is a suggestion that Lucerne was founded during the Roman Empire. It is known for certain that at the beginning of the 8th century there existed the monastery of St. Leodegar named after Gough, around which a trading settlement subsequently arose. In 1178, the city of Lucerne was formed.
In 1220, a trade route was opened through the St. Gotthard Pass. This event served as an impetus for the further development of Lucerne. In 1291, a military alliance was formed between Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. Soon, Lucerne joined this union, which allowed him to free himself from the Habsburg government and ensure the existence of future Switzerland.
In the 14-18 centuries, Lucerne was actually a separate state. The city was ruled by a patrician, consisting of representatives of 29 clans. During this period, Lucerne occupied a central position in the Swiss Confederation and seriously claimed the status of capital. But in 1847 he headed the Sonderbund (association of 7 Catholic cantons), which ended in defeat. In the end, Bern became the capital of Switzerland.
How to get there
Thanks to its central location, Lucerne can be easily reached by train from almost every other city in Switzerland. Trains from Zurich leave for Lucerne every 30 minutes.
The old town of Lucerne is located on the right bank of the Royce River. This is a delightful place for hiking, where the narrow streets and small squares are full of charming old houses. Many of them are painted in bright colors, which gives the altstadt Lucerne a fabulous atmosphere.
The historic center of Lucerne is known for its picturesque squares. Weinmarkt is one of the most beautiful squares of the old city. Here in 1332, Lucerne joined the Swiss Union. Until the 16th century there was a fish market. Weinmarkt acquired a modern look in 1841. The fountain in the square is considered the most beautiful in Lucerne and dates from 15-16 centuries. Another important area is Mühlenplatz. This is the largest historical square in Lucerne, founded in the early 16th century. Be sure to check out Hirschenplatz, a charming square with colorful houses. Another important historical square is Kapellplatz.
Chapel Bridge is the most famous symbol of Lucerne and one of the most photographed sights of Switzerland. This is a medieval covered wooden bridge built in 1333 over the Royce River. Its most notable feature is 111 paintings of the 17th century, painted on rafters and depicting saints and scenes from the history of the city.
Terrible, but in 1993 the wooden bridge was damaged by a strong fire. Restored to its previous state in just 8 months. It’s a shame that this attraction has stood intact for more than 650 years and has been damaged in modern times.
Near the bridge is an octagonal 13th-century water tower with a height of more than 34 meters. It was once part of the city fortifications.
Surprisingly, in Lucerne there is another medieval covered wooden bridge – Spreuerbrücke. It was built in 1406, and inside on triangular panels under the rafters are painted 45 paintings called “Dance of Death.” The paintings were created by Caspar Meglinger and his students between 1616 and 1637.
Church of st. Leodegara (Hofkirche) is considered the most important example of Renaissance architecture in Switzerland. The religious building was built on the site of an ancient Benedictine monastery of the 8th century. The modern building dates back to the 17th century. Gothic towers remained from the church of the early 16th century, destroyed by fire. In the arcades surrounding the church, representatives of old clans lie.
The Jesuit Church is the first large Baroque church in Switzerland, built on the left bank of the Royce River in the 17th century. The interior was renovated in Rococo style in 1750.
Franciscan Church of St. Mary was built between 1270 and 1280 and was part of the monastery until 1838. The church has a Gothic interior and a baroque and Renaissance chair.
Along the northern part of the old city of Lucerne runs the old city wall, built between 1350 and 1408, with nine towers. Most of the fortifications were preserved in their original condition. Four towers can be climbed. The old fortifications of Lucerne are considered one of the longest and best preserved defensive walls in Switzerland.
- Nölli (1513) – the only round tower. Height 28 meters.
- Männli is a tall 33-meter tower open to the public.
- Luegisland (1370) – a watchtower with a weather vane.
- Heu – is a tall 44-meter tower. It was restored in 1701 after a gunpowder explosion caused by a lightning strike.
- Zyt (1442) is a 31-meter clock tower with a bell. The clock was visible to the fishermen from the lake.
- Schirmer is a 27-meter tower with a gate.
- Pulver – the second powder tower, 27.5 m high.
- Allenwinden – is a medieval tower 27 meters high.
- Dächli – is the smallest of the towers with an old round roof.
The Town Hall of Lucerne is considered one of the most beautiful public buildings in Switzerland. It was built between 1602 and 1606 in the style of the Italian Renaissance.
The Lion Monument is a huge figure of a dying lion carved in a rock. Built in honor of the death of soldiers and officers of the Swiss Guard during the French Revolution during the attack on the Tuileries in Paris.
Popular destinations from Lucerne:
- Mount Pilatus is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful natural attractions. It has a height of 2070 meters and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. We recommend a trip along the Alpnachstad mountain railway through alpine meadows, picturesque forests and cliffs to the top.
- Boat trip on Lake Firwaldstet.
- The mountain of Riga, which can be reached by a cog railway. From the top of 1798 meters offers a great view and you can even see the Black Forest.
- Jungfraujoch, where at an altitude of 3445 meters there is an observatory and an observation deck, as well as the largest glacier in Europe.