Aerial view of Chapel Bridge over the river Reuss in Lucerne, Switzerland
© Neleman Initiative/Gallery Stoc
A city of bridges
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains just out of frame, Lucerne lies in the Swiss-German speaking bit of central Switzerland and is split into two parts, which are linked by a series of bridges. The most famous of these is the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), a covered wooden footbridge which you can see going diagonally across the Reuss river in our homepage image. The building next to it, rising from the water, is a medieval water tower which has been variously used as a prison, torture chamber, local archive and treasury.
Originally built in 1333 as part of Lucerne's fortifications, Chapel Bridge connected the old town on the right bank of the Reuss to the new town on the left, securing the city from attack via Lake Lucerne to the south. It is believed to be the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe, although much of it had to be replaced after a devastating fire in 1993.
Named after the nearby St Peter's Chapel, Chapel Bridge is picturesque in more ways than one: There are dozens of interior paintings on triangular panels underneath the bridge’s roof that date back to the 17th century. The paintings by local Catholic artist Hans Heinrich Wägmann depict historical events from the town and, despite the fire destroying most of the artwork, you can still admire some of the original paintings as you cross the river.