What impressed me about ‘The Lion of Lucerne’ in Switzerland

While visiting my brother in Switzerland we spent a day in Lucerne. There were two things that impressed me. One was the Kapellbruke, or Chapel Bridge that spanned the Reuss River. This covered wooden footbridge was originally built in 1333 and was 660 feet long connecting the old town with the new town.  Inside there were 158 paintings on the triangular frames dating back to the 17th century.








Over the years the bridge was shortened to 560 feet. In 1993 there was a fire and much of the bridge including many paintings were destroyed. The bridge was restored and only 47 paintings were saved. The Kapellbruke is the oldest truss bridge in the world. We were there in summer and it was covered in flowers.

I was also impressed by the Lion Monument designed in the early 1800’s by Bertel Thorvaldsen, a Danish sculptor. It was carved into the side of a cliff and measured 32 feet long and 20 feet high. The lion was lying down impaled by a spear, dying. There was a pool of water below him to symbolize his tears and trees all around. It was a quiet enclave in the middle of a busy city.

The monument was dedicated “To The Loyalty and Bravery of the Swiss.” It commemorated the death of 760 Swiss Guards at the Tulieries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution. Fighting broke out when Louis XVI and his family were fleeing the country. The Swiss Guards were overwhelmed by the number of revolutionaries storming the palace.

Swiss mercenaries had been part of the Royal household in France since the early 17th century. The only ones to survive that day in August 1792, were a regiment of about 350 who were sent to Normandy a few days before. The names of all the soldiers were engraved in the wall below the lion.


Before the monument was completed, Bertel Thorvaldsen was told there would not be enough money to pay in full for his work. In protest he changed the shape of the nook where the lion lay. If you looked at the outer edge you could see it was in the shape of a pig.

If you were to go to the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia you could see a copy of the lion made by Thomas M Brady.