Lucerne is a beautiful small city in the heartland of Switzerland, across the lake from Altdorf, where legend has it William Tell shot an apple off of his son's head. In addition to being a fine place to visit in and of itself Lucerne is a great base from which to explore famous Swiss sites such as Mount Rigi and the Rutli Meadow.
With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications, and government of this region. The city's urban area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.
Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne, within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century.
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, a 204 m (669 ft) long wooden covered bridge originally built in 1333, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on August 18, 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette.
Part way 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 Lucerne's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark.
Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Muhlenplatz, the Spreuer Bridge zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1408, it features a series of medieval-style 17th Century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger titled Dance of Death. The bridge has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1568.