Lucerne is a beautiful small city in central Switzerland, across the lake from Altdorf, where legend has it William Tell shot an apple off of his son's head. Owing to its location on the shores of Lake Lucerne and its outflow, the river Reuss, within sight of the mounts Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists.
Originally built in 1333 as part of Lucerne's fortifications, the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across river Reuss. The bridge is unique because it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century depicting events from Lucerne's history. It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as Lucerne's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions. It can easily be accessed by multiple trains at Luzern Station.
Old Town Lucerne is mainly located just north of the Reuss, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts. Remnants of the old town walls exist on the hill above Lucerne, complete with eight tall watch towers. An additional gated tower sits at the base of the hill on the banks of the Reuss. Today, the narrow streets and alleyways are lined with many lovely restaurants, cafes and shops. Every year, towards the end of winter, Fasnacht (Carnival) breaks out in this neighbourhood. Strange characters in fantastic masks and costumes make their way through the alleyways, while Guggenmusiken (carnival bands) blow their instruments in joyful cacophony and thousands of bizarrely clad people sing and dance away the winter.
The Museggmauer (old city wall) is an iconic landmark of Lucerne and together with Wasserturm and Kapellbrücke defines the historic townscape of the city. It is part of the city fortification. Archaeological surveys show that the construction of the Museggmauer was begun around 1370. A few of the 9 towers surrounding the wall are open to visitors, including the clock tower. The clockwork mechanism is huge and exposed on the inside. The clock has 'First Strike rights' by law, and so chimes at 1 min before the hour.
ALso known as the Lion of Lucerne, it is a rock relief hewn in 1820–21. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Carved into the cliff face, the monument measures ten meters in length and six meters in height. The dying lion is portrayed impaled by a spear, covering a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy; beside him is another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world".