The Spreuer Bridge is one of two extant covered wooden footbridges in the city of Lucerne, Switzerland. Besides the other preserved bridge, the Kapellbrücke, a third bridge of this type – the Hofbrücke – existed in Lucerne, but was demolished in the 19th century.HistoryThe first bridge was constructed in the 13th century to connect the Mühlenplatz 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.TotentanzThe 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.Spreuer Bridge is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our world travel planner, Lucerne Edition.
Tours to Spreuer Bridge
1.5-Hour Small-Group Nightwatchman Walk in Medieval Lucerne BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $26
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Luzern city - small group tour with local guide - starts in Basel BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $186
Duration: 7 hours
Spreuer Bridge Reviews
There are 2 covered bridges here, and the most famous is the Chapel bridge. This is the other one, but also worth a visit. It has some interesting features such as a small Chapel on the bridge itself.... more »
The subject of death for all the paintings on the bridge is eye-opening but the paintings themselves are really interesting. more »
It's like a dream. It's beautiful. During the summers, there are a lot of these flies over the river. Make sure to keep covered and have an insect repellent handy
Lucerne is beautiful good mix of shops and places to eat. Also good to just walk around for a few hours.
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