The Neustadt walking route takes you from the Chapel Bridge to the Helvetiagärtli park. Along the way, 14 info-points explain the origins and development of this, Lucerne's most urban quarter.
A Lucerne Theatre (neulu.ch/a): the Lucerne Theatre has survived many a storm, including a major fire in 1924. Did you know that it's Switzerland's oldest multi-arts venue?
B Hirschmatt (neulu.ch/b): the building at the corner of Hirschengraben looks nothing special. However, its façade gives an indication as to its venerable past: this is where, outside the old city walls, the history of the Hirschmatt quarter began. And did you know that the political heavyweights of the canton once lived at this address?
C Viktoriaplatz (neulu.ch/c): the construction of the new railway station in 1896 freed Pilatusstrasse from the tracks of the Centralbahn railway company. The result was a magnificent boulevard that could hold its own against Zurich's renowned Bahnhofstrasse. But did you know that the Hirschmatt quarter emerged from a drawing board?
D Rosengart Collection (neulu.ch/d): when the Swiss National Bank moved to Pilatusstrasse in 1924, the locals' welcome was muted. They deemed the design of the building too simple. Today the Rosengart Collection it houses is a flagship of the city's cultural offer. Did you know that the building floats atop the boggy substrate on a huge reinforced concrete slab?
E Gutenberghof (neulu.ch/e): the building erected in 1907 is a typical example of the lyrical architecture of the Belle Époque. The statues and façade reliefs, which testify to the dynasty of printers who lived and worked here, are exceptional. Did you know that one of Lucerne's three former daily newspapers was printed in this building until 1959?
F Vögeligärtli (neulu.ch/f): the Vögeligärtli was home not only to birds, but also to deer, a stalactite cave and, earlier, a smelly gasworks. It was not until the Hirschmatt quarter was completed that the central library was added – and this in a detour. Did you know that the Vögeligärtli is actually called Sempachergarten?
G Lukaskirche (neulu.ch/g): the tower was deemed too high, the bells too loud – the Protestant church of St. Lukas did not have it easy in Catholic Lucerne! At least not to start with: soon the reinforced concrete architecture was praised as an outstanding example of early Modernism. Did you know that there's a real art treasure contained within the church?
H Hirschmattstrasse (neulu.ch/h): Hirschmattstrasse is a reflection of the architectural and cultural diversity that characterises the district. It also shows how fragile the balance is between commercial and residential demands. Did you know that the population of the Hirschmatt quarter decreased by 30 percent during the boom years of the 1960s?
I Block perimeter development (neulu.ch/i): block perimeter development was in vogue in urban development circles when the Hirschmatt quarter was designed on the drawing board. The five- to six-storey buildings are prestigious on the outside and homely on the inside. At least they could have been, for did you know that the inner courtyards soon bristled with commercial premises?
J Architecture of the 1960s (neulu.ch/j): not everyone is a fan of the boom years architecture. It had to be practical, "modern" and designed to generate returns. It provided 20 percent more office space. And smaller, more expensive apartments. Did you know that there is only one building in the Hirschmatt quarter that was not designed in the block perimeter style?
K Witnesses of the Belle Époque (neulu.ch/k): Habsburgerstrasse transports you back to the time of the Belle Époque – at least as far as the architecture of the excellently preserved houses is concerned. The street names are more reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Did you know that Dornacherstrasse is named after a battle in the Swabian War?
L Weisses Schloss (neulu.ch/l): exuberant Historicism frequently incorporates elements of Art Nouveau in the Hirschmatt quarter. The Weisses Schloss restaurant has not only preserved the Art Nouveau style, but also the fabric of the building – unlike on the other side of Moosstrasse. Did you know that one of the best building plots in the city has been lying empty for decades?
M Moosstrasse (neulu.ch/m): speculators not only overestimate their capabilities – sometimes they disfigure. The former "Mascotte" is a prime example of what can go wrong when the client's only goal is profit. Did you know that the building was erected by one of the greatest bankrupts in Lucerne's history?
N Helvetiagärtli (neulu.ch/n): the Helvetiagärtli is proof that initiative pays off. In the nineties, the neighbourhood's residents banded together and transformed the Helvetiagärtli from a wasteland into a jewel. Did you know, by the way, that the Hotel Helvetia was once a gathering place for alcohol prohibitionists?