Spreuer Bridge, Lucerne

4.7
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.
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Spreuer Bridge Reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This is another wooden bridge, lesser known than the Chapel Bridge, yet older. It is actually right down the river from the Chapel Bridge. The views around it and the running water underneath make for...  more »
  • We quickly see the difference with the Kappelbrucke, the wood making really older. Interesting to see the mill system that produced electricity. Beautiful paintings, a little shame not to have explanations in French or English to understand the meaning.
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  • Amazing. Look for it's story and you'll really enjoy the bridge and it's paintings. Trust me, you won't regret it.
  • The images Show images of what death was considered to be like in the middle ages. Perhaps not the best to show little children, but ultimately the skelleton depiction of death is mostly harmless. Be aware the images are covered during carnival season to protect them from damage due to drunk people's 'good' ideas.
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