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Burnt into memory Remembering the Chapel Bridge fire

Lucerne’s world famous covered bridge spanning the River Reuss is a magnet for tourists from all over the world. But the medieval Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge, was nearly lost in a massive fire 25 years ago. 

The bridge, built in 1365 as part of Lucerne’s fortifications, contained paintings dating back to the 17th century. Many of these were destroyed in the blaze, along with two thirds of the bridge. Lucerne residents were devastated. The exact cause of the fire has never been established, but it’s thought that it started on a boat beneath the bridge.

The iconic structure was rebuilt and opened to the public again on April 14, 1994, and a surveillance system was put in place to prevent future fires. The renovations cost CHF3.4 million ($3.41 million) . 

In 2013, Swiss Public Television, SRF, prepared this report to mark the 20th anniversary of the fire.


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