The Hofkirche (also known as the Church of St. Leodegar) in Lucerne is a mainly 17th-century structure, with two distinctive towers that belonged to an older building on the site. This Roman Catholic Church is one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Switzerland.
The Hofkirche was built on the ruins of an eighth-century Romanesque basilica. It was one of the few churches built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War that raged in Central Europe during the first half of the 17th century. Unlike many churches from the same era, it is modestly decorated with white stone and a gilded altarpiece. Most visitors stop by while touring Lucerne independently or on a guided tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Admission to the church is free.
- The small cemetery and public park beside the church are worth checking out.
- Both the interior and exterior of the church are adorned with statues of saints connected to Lucerne, and there are tombs inside containing the remains of notable citizens of the city.
How to Get There
The Hofkirche is located on a small hill that overlooks the old town of Lucerne. The twin spires are visible from many parts of the city, including the train station. It’s a pleasant walk to the church from the Old Town area, on the northern banks of the Reuss River. The nearest bus stop is Luzernerhof.
When to Get There
The church is normally closed to visitors on Fridays. On other days it’s open from 10am to 12pm, and 2pm until 5pm. Travelers coming to Lucerne in the summer can check out an organ recital in the Hofkirche as part of the Lucerne Festival.
Visit the Lion Monument
In the same area as the Hofkirche is the must-visit Lion Monument. The 32-foot (10-meter) sculpture of a dying lion was carved into a rock face in 1820 by Lukas Ahorn to commemorate the Swiss people who died during the French Revolution of the late 18th century.