Luzern AKA Lucerne is the capital of the canton of Lucerne and in many respects the most important city in Central Switzerland. It is the cultural centre of the region and the fourth largest Swiss agglomeration. Lucerne owes its development firstly to its geographical location on the important north-south transport axis, sandwiched between the Swiss Plateau and the Alps at the threshold to Central Switzerland, and secondly to the uniquely picturesque scenery of this region.
Melvin, Me, and Vanessa on the train at Luzern Bahnhof…
Our train ticket from Frankfurt to Luzern…
The streets of Luzern…
Arts festival – frogs on display!
There’s absolutely nothing pretentious about this beer hall/brasserie, where clients have been soaking up suds and enjoying filling platters of traditional food since 1602. The building that contains it has an outrageously colorful replica of a medieval fresco on its facade, and an interior pair of dining rooms, one of which contains a bar, and both of which are sheathed in richly intricate marquetry. Menu items include four kinds of pork schnitzel, entrecôte of beef, sliced veal with a mushroom-flavored cream sauce, sliced veal with morels, and ostrich steak. There is also a selection of fondues, any of which seem to taste better during cold weather.
This is the main cathedral for the city, as well as the St. Leodegar and St. Maurice religious center. A Benedictine monastery was founded here in the 8th century. In 1633, a fire destroyed the church; it was rebuilt in 1645. It is the most important Renaissance church in Switzerland. Especially noteworthy are the façade, Mary’s alter (with a relief panel dating from 1500), and the souls’ altar.
L-R: Me, Melvin, Mina, Kelvyn.
Inside the church…
From a geological aspect, Mount Pilatus AKA Dragon Mountain is the northernmost branch of the Alps. The geological edge of the Alps stretches right through Lake Luzern. Along this border run the sedimentary layers which traverse the whole of Switzerland and, with the lakes in the Alpine foothills, create some of Switzerland’s most stunning scenery. Luzern’s famous Mount Pilatus is the back drop for the town.
At the top of Mount Pilatus…
Lake Luzern – with ducks, swans, and boats in the background…
The covered bridge, constructed in 1333, was designed to help protect the city of Lucerne from attacks. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century, depicting events from Luzerne’s history. Much of the bridge, and the majority of these paintings, were destroyed in a 1993 fire, though it was quickly rebuilt.
Inside Chapel Bridge and triangular paintings…
Adjoining the bridge is the 140 feet tall Wasserturm (Water Tower), an octagonal tower made from brick, which has served as a prison, torture chamber, watchtower and treasury. Today the tower, which is part of the city wall, is used as the guild hall of the artillery association. The tower and the bridge are Lucerne’s trademark and form the most photographed monument in the country.
Mühlenplatz Water Dam
The Glacier Garden is Nature’s own monument to its history, with a park and museum. Glacial potholes of impressive proportions bear witness to the last ice age and to the fact that Lucerne was once covered by glaciers. Fossilised mussels and palm leaves show that some 20 million years earlier Lucerne was a subtropical beach.
These impressive potholes were formed at the bottom of the glacier by the sheer force of the water. As is still the case in alpine glaciers today, the melt water initially flowed on the surface of the ice before seeping into the glacier through fissures. At the bottom of the glacier the water was under tremendous pressure. As the flow of water gathered speed, vortices with speeds of up to 200 km/h began to form. Within a few years, potholes had been eroded out of the rock. Most of the erosion was done by sand and gravel trapped in the cloudy melt-water flow.
Glacier Garden TowerWalk – View over the town of Lucerne, with the large administrative building of the Swiss Insurance Company (Suva), and beyond to Mount Pilatus and the Lucerne hinterland.
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Lion Monument in luzern commemorates the Swiss Guards who died while defending Marie Antoinette in the French Revolution. The sculpture was carved in a sandstone cliff above the city center, near Lucerne’s Glacier Garden and the Panorama, and it has attracted countless visitors since its dedication in 1821.
A close up shot of the Lion Monument…