Church of St. Leodegar: Visiting Lucerne’s Parish Church

As a person who loves architecture, buildings such as the Church of Saint Leodegar never fail to capture my attention. I  think it’ll do the same with you when you visit Lucerne and spend time sightseeing the beautiful scenery of Lake Lucerne.

I also think your eyes will also stop sweeping the skyline of Lucerne the time they meet the pointed twin spires of the Church of Saint Leodegar. Surely, they will, especially during the evening, when the church’s spires glimmer above Lake Lucerne.

Indeed, the Church of Saint Leodegar is an eye-catching structure in Lucerne, but is it worth visiting? For today, I’ll show you beautiful things you will see in this church that might interest you and that you might want to see in person. Let’s go!

Before anything, let me introduce the Church of Saint Leodegar.

In simplest words, the Church of Saint Leodegar, or Hofkirche, is the Catholic parish church of Lucerne. It is one of the most important buildings in Lucerne—historically, religiously, and architecturally. Did you know? It dates back as early as the mid-8th century.

Yet, of course, the Church of Saint Leodegar has undergone several modifications throughout the centuries, so the church you’ll see now is no longer the original. The most notable alteration took place after it was destroyed by fire in the mid-17th century. 

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View of Church of St. Leodegar from a boat ride in Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
View of Church of St. Leodegar from a boat ride in Lake Lucerne
The facade of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The facade of Church of St. Leodegar
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When you visit the Church of Saint Leodegar, you’ll be first greeted by its imposing German renaissance facade. It was first designed gothic, though. That is why you can still see gothic elements in the church, like its pointed towers.

Today, the Church of Saint Leodegar also serves as a tourist attraction. Many travelers come here to get their photo souvenirs and selfies with the church’s imposing facade. 

I suggest taking a photo souvenir or a selfie with the Church of Saint Leodegar after climbing the first set of stairs. For me, that’s the perfect spot for photos. It has enough distance to photograph the church with its full facade included in the shot.

That spot is actually the part of the way to the church that’s like a small garden. It even has a fountain that’s so nice! 

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Why Visit The Church of St. Leodegar

Although this church isn’t as spectacular as some famous churches in Europe, you might still want to visit it for a few reasons. If you ask me, “is the Church of Saint Leodegar worth visiting?” here’s what I can say:

I only recommend visiting the Church of Saint Leodegar (1) if you have spare time in Lucerne, (2) if you really like architecture, or (3) if you are a devoted Catholic.

  1. For me, the Church of Saint Leodegar seems to be just an ordinary church in Europe. I suggest giving the “unique attractions” in Lucerne a much higher priority (i.e., Musegg Wall, Lion Monument, or Chapel Bridge)
  2. As mentioned earlier, the Church of Saint Leodegar has become a combination of two architectural styles after the big fire incident in the mid-17th century. That being said, if you’re an architecture enthusiast, the church can be your new fascinating discovery when visiting Lucerne.
  3. You should come to the Church of Saint Leodegar if you’re a Catholic—no need to explain! But honestly, you might want to check the centuries-old altars and religious figures to help you meditate with your prayers.

Nevertheless, the Church of Saint Leodegar is a picturesque landmark with a gorgeous design and interesting artwork. It’s also an oasis of peace and quiet in Lucerne, so if you want to appreciate creativity and introspect during your travels, this is the place to be.

A while ago, I mentioned the unique tourist attractions in Lucerne. Do you want to learn more about them (and discover the others)? If yes, check my articles about Chapel Bridge, Mount Pilatus, Lion Monument, Musegg Wall, and Jesuit Church. (Links open in a new tab)

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What Does The Church Of Saint Leodegar Look Like? (See Photos)

Before I explain further why you might like to go here, let me show you first some of its photos. They should give you a clue if you should really visit the church.

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Two of the beautiful reliefs, sculptures or murals in the entrance of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
Two of the beautiful reliefs, sculptures or murals in the entrance of Church of St. Leodegar
The intricate doors, columns, and frescoes of Church of St. Leodegar's entrance in Lucerne, Switzerland
The intricate doors, columns, and frescoes of Church of St. Leodegar’s entrance
Interiors of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
Interiors of Church of St. Leodegar
Beautiful altars of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
Beautiful altars of Church of St. Leodegar
Church of St. Leodegar's elaboration in Lucerne, Switzerland
Church of St. Leodegar’s elaboration
The massive organ and the pulpit of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The massive organ and the pulpit of Church of St. Leodegar
Beautiful wrought iron gates inside the Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
Beautiful wrought iron gates inside the Church of St. Leodegar
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Overall, It Is A Beautiful landmark

When it comes to beauty, the Church of Saint Leodegar, if it is a person, surely has something to be proud of. We can start from its grand scale. It has gigantic and striking twin spires, which catch the visitors’ attention across the city of Lucerne most of the time.

And as you approach the church, your sight will be struck by the intricate facade and main portal, inviting you to come closer and explore its beauty. Even if you haven’t entered the church, I believe you’ll marvel right away at the woodcrafts, frescoes, and sculptures in the main portal.

The interior of the Church of Saint Leodegar looks simpler compared to other famous churches in Europe, though. But it has a ceiling that mesmerized me (and perhaps it can also be mesmerizing for you) because of its frescoes that made the ceiling appear to have more detailed dimensions.

Come closer to the altars because they’re a true masterpiece. They are colored gold and filled with intricate details and religious sculptures. The sculptures depict various scenes from the Bible and are a testament to the skill, religious dedication, and artistry of the craftsmen who created them.

I also have to mention the intricately wrought iron gates, especially behind the crucified Jesus. The gates are adorned with delicate filigree patterns and intricate scrolling, adding to the beauty and elegance of the Church of Saint Leodegar.

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A Unique Architecture

As I have mentioned earlier, the Church of Saint Leodegar is a building that has combined the elements of the German Renaissance and Gothic architecture. 

In a nutshell, the German Renaissance style is characterized by its focus on symmetry, proportion, and geometry. At the same time, Gothic architecture is known for its use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. This combination of architectural styles makes the church a truly one-of-a-kind building worth seeing for anyone who appreciates art and architecture. 

Although you cannot see all elements of the two architectural styles in the Church of Saint Leodegar, the combination of the two styles can serve as your unique discovery when you visit Lucerne. 

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Different Kinds Of Artworks

If you appreciate art, you should definitely check out the Church of Saint Leodegar.

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The German Renaissance Facade of the Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The German Renaissance Facade of the Church of Saint Leodegar
One of the altars in the Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
One of the altars in the Church of Saint Leodegar
The beautiful woodcraft of the organ in the Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The beautiful woodcraft of the organ in the Church of Saint Leodegar
The artworks In the main portal of the Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The artworks on the main portal of the Church of Saint Leodegar
The elegant pews inside the Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland
The elegant pews inside the Church of Saint Leodegar
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Artworks are located as early as the facade of the church. You’ll be greeted as soon as you arrive at the church’s site by two beautifully crafted figures on the main doors – St. Leodegar, the patron saint of Lucerne, and St. Mauritius.

The statue above them is Saint Beatus, who is triumphantly wielding his sword against a small dragon. I think it is a depiction of the scene in the saint’s legend in a cave near Lake Thun/Interlaken. Discover more about Lake Thun or Interlaken from my posts below.

Moving into the main portal, you “unfold” the beautiful woodworks, sculptures, and classical elaborative elements adorning the columns of the Church of Saint Leodegar. The relief and ornamentation surrounding the door are a feast to the eye!

I can imagine architecture enthusiasts’ eyes glittering as they marvel at them. 

Before you fully enter the Church of Saint Leodegar, don’t forget to look at the statues of the saints and the frescoes beside the main door. The frescoes are Trompe-l’œil. They’re quite cool to look at, tricking our eyes and making us think they are three-dimensional.

Aside from what is shown in the photos (intricate wrought iron, beautiful altar, ceiling frescoes), the ornate pews are other “artworks” we may consider and can see inside the church.

These pews tell a sad part of history: rich people are segregated from ordinary worshipers. Wealthy citizens sit at the more beautiful pews while the rest sit at the plainer pews.

I’m not sure if you can enter the iron gate behind the center cross, but you can find the wooden choir stall there dating from 1639. It looks really antique, richly filled with ornamentation like statues of saints and biblical symbolisms.

If you can’t enter the iron gates to see the choir stalls much closer, don’t worry! You may still appreciate the woodcraft of the pulpit and of the organ. Especially the organ, its wooden body is stunningly elaborate.

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How To Visit The Church of St. Leodegar In Lucerne

Are you now interested in visiting the Church of Saint Leodegar? If yes, let me help you find and reach it. 

So, where exactly is the Church of Saint Leodegar? 

You can find the Church of Saint Leodegar at the edge of the old city to the east. Finding the church would be very simple, especially if you’re already in Schweizerhofquai, Seebrücke, or any place with an open view of Lake Lucerne. The spires of the Church of Saint Leodegar dominate the skyline, and once you spot it, you can just follow the direction where the church is.

Let’s say you are currently in Schweizerhofquai, the wide road east of the old city with views of Lake Lucerne. In that case, you only have to walk straight northeast to reach the Church of Saint Leodegar. The facade of the church is perpendicular to Schweizerhofquai.

If you want to reach the Church of Saint Leodegar using public transportation, you can hop on buses #1, #6, #19, and #73 and drop by the Luzernerhof bus stop. The church is less than a minute from the bus stop on foot.

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When To Visit The Church of St. Leodegar In Lucerne

There is no specific time to visit the Church of Saint Leodegar unless you’re like me, who wants to take “eye-gasmic” photos of the places I visit. If that’s also what you want, I suggest visiting the church during the golden hour (the hours after sunrise and before sunset).

Of course, if you want to see what’s inside the Church of Saint Leodegar, you must come when it is open. 

Lastly, I think you should not miss visiting the Church of Saint Leodegar during the Lilu Light Festival Lucerne. It’s the time of the year when the landmarks in Lucerne are projected with colorful light effects at night—the Church of Saint Leodegar is one of them. 

Usually, the festival takes place in the second week of January, lasting for eleven days straight.

To know the updated opening hours of the Church of Saint Leodegar and the dates of the Lilu Light Festival, you may check the official websites of the church and of the festival, linked at the end of this post.

Do you need more ideas where to go in Lucerne? I can help you with that! You can try reading: 10 Must-See Landmarks In Lucerne (Free Things To Do), 10 Unique Things To Do In Lucerne and Lucerne Is A Beautiful City: 10 Beautiful Things To See. (Links open in a new tab)

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Sources: Church of St. Leodegar

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