Lucerne lies on the shores of the Lake of Lucerne and is the capital of Central Switzerland. The nearby Alpine foothills offer an impressive view of the ice-capped peaks of the Alps and the well-preserved medieval town centre of Lucerne.
Lucerne boasts world-famous landmarks such as the Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke) and the Water Tower (Wasserturm). Apart from tourist attractions, the city offers a modern infrastructure with a wide range of cinemas, museums, theatres, restaurants, and an extensive and well-run public transport system.
Area: 24.15 km2 (9.324 square miles)
Population (city): 80,915 (2011)
Height above sea level: 436 m (1430 ft)
Language/s: Lucerne dialect of Swiss German, High German
The city was once a dependency of the Alsatian monastery at Murbach, but gradually gained autonomy. The year 1178 marked a turning point in its relations with the monastery, and is regarded as the date of its foundation as a city. After the opening of the Gotthard pass in the early 13th century it grew wealthy as an important staging post on the route between Italy and northern Europe. The city joined the young Swiss Confederation in 1332.