Bridge from a Bridge

The Chapel Bridge and Water Tower were built in the 14th century.  The bridge served as a rampart, as well as part of the towns fortification.  Originally 285 meters long, the bridge was shortened several times during the 19th century.  Water tower served as a dungeon, archive and treasury vault.

In the 17th century the Chapel Bridge was adorned with a set of paintings.  The triangular panels were designed by town secretary Renward Cysat, a universal scholar, and painted in Renaissance style by Hans Heinrich Wagmann. The series of paintings depict the development of the city and republic of Lucerne from a Counter-Reformation point of view.  Other pictures portray the life and sufferings of the town’s two patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Mauritius.

During the night of 17th August 1993, a fire broke out on the Chapel Bridge burning 81 of the 111 bridge paintings.  The paintings of both bridge-heads escaped damage by the blaze.

Between 1994 and 2001 photographic facsimiles were displayed to fill the enormous gap.

In  2002 Lucerne’s city council together with the federal and cantonal offices for the preservation of historical monuments, agreed upon which the order of the paintings would be newly hung.

The paintings on the bridgeheads are the originals.  In the middle of the bridge the paintings from the St. Mauritius series can be seen.  These had been removed in the 19th century when the bridge was shortened during the construction of the quays on the north and south ends.

The gap remaining between the paintings serves as a reminder of the irreparable loss to the bridge – and for the city of Lucerne – caused by the blaze on the night of 17th August 1993.*

The Tower and the Mountain

Beneath the Bridge

Sunset Over the Mountain

*Information from a sign board located next to the bridge.

PS: I don’t have photos of the paintings on this bridge, but I do have photographs of paintings from a similar bridge.  Coming soon… ;-)

8 Comments CherryPie on Aug 15th 2013

8 Responses to “The Chapel Bridge and Water Tower”

  1. It was all covered in snow when I was there. :)
    The difference is so huge!

  2. ubermouth says:

    Beautiful bridge. I love the flowers all the way along! What type of paint did they use for the paintings that could be hung outside without being destroyed?

  3. Ginnie says:

    You know, of course, that I collect water towers, Cherry, don’t you! :) This one is a beauty.

  4. Mickie Brown says:

    Cherie, Lovely photos–the last one is awesome. I always enjoy your commentary on the history of various places. Take care, my friend. Mickie :)