Chapel Bridge in Lucerne

Kapellbrucke in Luzer Aquarelle
Pencil, ink and watercolour painting by Dai Wynn of the famous Kapellbrucke in Lucerne, Switzerland. The octagonal 34.5m tall Wasserturm, literally “water tower” (tower standing in the water), is part of the bridge complex and pre-dates it by about 30 years.
Over the centuries, a prison and torture chamber occupied the tower. Later it housed a municipal archive as well as a local treasury. While the tower now accommodates a local artillery association and a tourist gift shop, there is no access for the public.
In c.1365 Lucerne’s fortifications required the building of the bridge over the River Reuss. It linked the right bank old town to the left bank new town. This secured the town from attack from the south (i.e. from the lake).
Initially over 270 metres long, the bridge is now only 204.7 metres in length as a result of numerous shortenings and river bank replenishments.
It is the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world consisting of strutted and triangulated trusses of moderate span. Piled trestles support the bridge structure.
On 18 August 1993, fire destroyed two thirds of the bridge’s interior paintings. The Chapel Bridge again opened to the public on 14 April 1994. The refurbishment cost a total of CHF 3.4 million.

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