Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge - Facts and History

Charles Bridge

Chapel Bridge (“Kapellbrücke”) is a wooden pedestrian bridge that spans Reuss River in the city Lucerene in Switzerland. It is named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, it was built in 1333 and is one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe. In the beginning, it had length of over 200 meters, but in time, because of replenishment of banks, it was shortened and now has length of 170 meters. It was built as a part of fortifications of Lucerene. Its purpose was to connect old part of town on the right bank with the new part on the left and to serve as protection from attack that could come from the lake at south.

One of the characteristics of Chapel Bridge is that it has painting hanged bellow its roof. They are triangular and depict events from the history and Legends of Lucerene, from painting that present life and death of Lucerne’s patron saint St. Leger to legends of city’s other patron saint St. Maurice. They were painted in 17th century by a local Catholic painter Hans Heinrich Wägmann. In 1993 on August 18th, fire broke out, probably from the cigarette, and destroyed two thirds of paintings. From 147 paintings that survived time (out of original 158), 47 were not destroyed by fire and only 30 were successfully restored.

Chapel Bridge And Church Of St Leodegar

Part of the bridge is a so-called “Water Tower” which is called like that, not because it holds water but because it stands on water. Tower is older that the bridge by some 30 years and was used as a prison and also as archive. Although it is a part of bridge complex it is now not opened for public. Bridge was restored after the fire into former shape in a year. Cost of reconstruction was US$2.1 million. Today, it is Switzerland’s main tourist attraction.

Name: Kapellbrücke
Offical Name: Kapellbrücke
Other Name(s): Chapel Bridge (after St. Peter's Chapel)
Crosses: Reuss River
Location: Switzerland, Lucerne
Type/Design/Architectural Style: Covered bridge, Wooden footbridge, Wooden covered bridge, Truss bridge
Lenght: 170 metres (558 ft)
Construction Begin: 1333
Opened: 1333, Rebuild: April 14, 1994
Destroyed: August 18, 1993
Coordinates: 47.051667, 8.3075
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