The «City of Lights»

With the opening of the Gotthard Pass in 1220 and the optimal geographic location at the northern end of Lake Lucerne, at the transition point from the Central Plateau to the Alps, the small fishing village developed with the early medieval monastery of St. Leodegar into a modern city. Lucerne today with more than 80,000 inhabitants is the capital of the canton of Lucerne and cultural, economic and touristic heart of central Switzerland.

The town's landmark is undoubtedly the octagonal Water Tower, which was built around 1300 and the Chapel Bridge, built in the 14th century. It is a covered wooden bridge with a row of paintings created in the 17th century. The second covered bridge, the Mill Bridge and the Musegg Wall with its 9 preserved, very individual towers, formed part of the outer fortification ring from the middle ages to the 19th century. Other attractions are not insignificant, the baroque Jesuit church, the Hofkirche with its two characteristic towers, the picturesque old town squares, the old Town Hall, which is under federal preservation, and the impressive Lion Monument.

Lucerne – the story of the «little wooden stork nest»

Celts were probably the first settlers on the northern end of Lake Lucerne. At the outflow of the Reuss River by today's Reuss bridge were probably the first houses of fishers. The Hofkirche is the «inner heart» of the city of Lucerne. In the early 8th century the Benedictines founded the monastery of St. Leodegar, which was occupied by the Alsatian Abbey Murbach in the middle of the 9th century. In 1178 the parish moved from the monastery over to Lucerne, and so that year became the official founding year of the city of Lucerne. In 1291 King Rudolf von Habsburg took over all rights of the monastery and of the city of Lucerne. The townspeople, however, wanted to establish their independence and in 1332 they united in an everlasting covenant with the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederation. The victory of the Confederates in the Battle of Sempach meant freedom from the house of Austria. The Republic of Lucerne expanded incredibly fast and obtained freedom from Emperor Sigismund in 1415. Numerous wars, such as the Burgundian or the Swabian War left their marks on the following century. The plague haunted the town of Lucerne from 14th to 17th century. The Black Death resulted in a reduction of the city's population by 40%. Patricians reigned in an aristocratic system of government over the entire city-state until the end of the 18th century. Despite its dominant position as a center of catholic Switzerland, Lucerne with its 4300 inhabitants had barely more people around 1800 than in the middle ages. The 3-kilometer-long town fortification with its ring of 30 towers and gates tied up the city and prevented its growth. This gave the city the name of «the small wooden stork nest»...