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Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland. It is the state capital of the Canton of Lucerne and seat of the district with the same name. With a population of 57,533, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland and focal point of the region. The city's agglomeration consists of 17 municipalities in three cantons with an overall population of nearly 200,000.
Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi, Lucerne is traditionally considered as a touristy city. One of the city's famous landmarks is Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke), a wooden bridge from the 14th Century.
The city grew from a small fishing village of ancient origins on the shores of Lake Lucerne with the founding of the Benedictine monastery of St. Leodegar in around 700 AD. The Latin name "Luciaria" appears in historical records from around 840 AD.
Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m (670 ft) long wooden bridge originally built in 1333, although much of it had to be replaced after a 1993 fire. Partway across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark.
Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Mühlenplatz, the Spreuerbrücke or Mill Bridge zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1408, it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe and features a series of medieval-style 17th Century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger titled Dance of Death. Meglinger's paintings portray various conditions of men and women, priests and warriors, princes and men of learning, the young bride, the devout nun, the lawmaker, the hunter, the miller, even the artist himself, are all depicted at the mercy of Death, with his mocking smile and his ever-changing garb. These paintings, suitable for a Benedictine abbey, are seen by every inhabitant of beautiful Lucerne who crosses the river via the Spreuerbrücke. It has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1568.
Old Town Luzern is located just north of the Reuss River, 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 River.
The twin needle towers of the cathedral of St. Leodegar sit on a small hill just above the lakefront. Originally built in 735, the present structure was erected in 1633 in the late Renaissance style. However, the towers are surviving remnants of an earlier structure. The interior is richly decorated. The cathedral is popularly called the Hofkirche (German) and is known locally as the Hofchile (Swiss-German).
Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off Lowenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when the mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
The Swiss Transport Museum is a large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft.
The Culture and Convention Center Lucerne beside the lake in the center of the city was designed by Jean Nouvel. The center has one of the world's leading concert halls, with acoustics by Russell Johnson.
Luzern also is famous for having many skateboarding-orriented shops, including Doodah and Paranoia.
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