Lucerne, Switzerland

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 a flood in 1566 and then rebuilt, together with a granary as the bridge head, called the Herrenkeller.


The pediments of the Spreuer Bridge contain paintings in the interior triangular frames, which is a feature unique to the wooden bridges of Lucerne. In the case of the Spreuer Bridge, the paintings form a Danse Macabre, known as Totentanz in German, which was created from 1616 to 1637 under the direction of painter Kaspar Meglinger. It is the largest known example of a Totentanz cycle. Of the 67 original paintings, 45 are still in existence. Most of the paintings contain the coat of arms of the donor in the lower left corner and to the right the coat of arms of the donor's wife. The black wooden frames bear explanations in verse and the names of the donors. The paintings also contain portraits of the donors and other exponents of Lucerne society. The painters of Lucerne knew the woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger but were more advanced in their painting technique. The images and texts of the Lucerne Danse Macabre are intended to highlight that there's no place in the city, in the country or at sea where death isn't present.



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Founded: 1566
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Switzerland

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User Reviews

Joel Irish (3 months ago)
I loved all the bridges in Lucerne. But Spreuerbrücke has some impressive paintings up in the rafters. Really pleasant walk across.
Irene Artho (4 months ago)
Beautiful old wooden bridge in Lucerne with views of the rapid waters of the Reuss. Similar to the Kapellbrücke but less busy. Worth a visit.
Maral Kharadjian (7 months ago)
One of my top favorites! Must see! Seeing here in person is really diffirent from any photos you view. It is a breathtaking site to be at, truly!
Raimundas Vaisvilas (8 months ago)
For me personally the most unique bridge not just in Luzern but maybe Switzerland. Some 300 people were killed as witches on this bridge, so all paintings here are related with death and skeletons
Pawel Gruza (8 months ago)
An old bridge located in the center of Lucerne. It is also the oldest wooden bridge in Europe. It is 204 meters long and runs diagonally across the river. A very atmospheric place by the river, among flowers. It takes a few minutes to walk over the bridge.
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