Top Historic Sights in Lucerne, Switzerland

Explore the historic highlights of Lucerne

Kapellbrücke

Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the River Reuss diagonally in the city of Lucerne. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest w ...
Founded: c. 1365 | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Jesuit Church

The Lucerne Jesuit Church is the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps. The Jesuit order, founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, were active participants in the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic fight against the birth of Protestantism. Protestant reformers such as Zwingli in Zurich and Calvin in Genevadivided the predominately Catholic Switzerland. In response, the Jesuits wer ...
Founded: 1667 | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Spreuerbrücke

The first Spreuerbrücke bridge was constructed in the 13th century to connect the Mühlenplatz (Mill Place) on the right bank of the Reuss with the mills in the middle of the river. The extension of the bridge to the left bank was completed only in 1408. This was the only bridge in Lucerne where it was allowed to dump chaff and leaves into the river, as it was the bridge farthest downriver. The bridge was destroyed by ...
Founded: 1566 | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Church of St. Leodegar

The Church of St. Leodegar was built in parts from 1633 to 1639 on the foundation of the Roman basilica which had burnt in 1633. This church was one of the few built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War and one of the largest and art history rich churches of the German late renaissance period. In the 8th century there was already an abbey consecrated to Saint Maurice on the current site of the church, which ...
Founded: 1633- | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Château Gütsch

The Gütsch is a hill in the west of the city of Lucerne. A long time ago guard fires burned here to warn the city in times of war or other dangers. The Gütsch Tower was built in 1590 as the end point of the city fortifications and remained in existence until a fire in 1888. In 1859 Burkhard Pfyffer bought the land from the town and was granted the right to run an inn on the Gütsch. The inn was bought by Ignaz Businge ...
Founded: 1859-1901 | Location: Lucerne, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".