Spreuer Bridge

History of Spreuer Bridge

The original Spreuer Bridge was erected around 1400 (first mentioned in 1408), but destroyed by storm in 1566, and rebuilt in 1568. The small chapel on the bridge also dates back to 1568, it has been renovated in 1889. An older small bridge at the location connected Mühlenplatz [Mill's place] with the city mills built on a small island in River Reuss already in the 13th century, however.

The 1408 bridge was built to connect the mills with the baker’s quarter in Pfistergasse [Pfister = medieval German word for baker] on the left bank of River Reuss. While the major part of medieval Lucerne is located on the right bank of River Reuss, the bakers had to stay on the left bank because they kept the fire in their stoves alive during night. The fear that fire might destroy the whole town was not unrealistic, in fact there are no old wooden houses left within the old town of Lucerne, the exceptions are located just outside the medieval ramparts.

What is the meaning of the name Spreuer Bridge?

Spreuer Bridge is situated at the lower end of medieval Lucerne. Though medieval towns in Europe were known to be quite filthy and sophisticated Roman sewage techniques had been forgotten over the centuries, they still made some elementary provisions to restrict immissions. In medieval Lucerne, it was allowed to throw Spreu [chaff] into River Reuss, but only from this lowest bridge in town.

City Mills and Power Plants

The city mills were destroyed in 1875 by fire. Instead, turbines were built and used to drive a variety of machines. But 50 years later the mechanical transmission of power was outdated and replaced by an electricity generator. In 1998 the power plant was completely redesigned and equipped with the latest technology available, delivering 4.3 million kWh per year (which equals the consumption of about 1,500 households in Lucerne). So you can find here a well-preserved example of 16th century art of engineering next to state-of-the-art 21st century technology.

Spreuer Bridge

Spreuer Bridge

Spreuer Bridge

14 Comments CherryPie on Dec 13th 2013

14 Responses to “Spreuer Bridge”

  1. It looks a bit like the Chapel Bridge??!

  2. Natalie says:

    Wow, what a beauty!

  3. We don’t have any cover bridges here…Coffee is on

  4. Barbara says:

    Gosh it was 1962 when I was there. Where did that time go? Enjoyed pics.

  5. Astrid says:

    Great set of pictures. Isn’t it great that we just can behind the laptop and travel the world…. In this way we ‘know’ what is going on in the rest of the world’ ;)
    I always am impressed by the woodwork and the ability of construction this. Great detail pictures.

  6. Steve Hayes says:

    Is that the one that was destroyed by fire a few years ago? Were the paintings saved?

    • CherryPie says:

      No it was the Chapel bridge that was destroyed, you can read more of that in the links in my response to LC above.

      This bridge is close by and the inside of the bridge is very much like the chapel bridge.