Käfigturm (Prison Tower), Bern

Käfigturm (Prison Tower), Bern (must see)

The Old City of Bern has countless sights to see. Among those landmarks is Kafigturm, the medieval prison tower. This must-see spot is a short walk from Bundesplatz and only minutes from numerous historical sites, statues and fountains.

Käfigturm as it stands today was built in 1640. The original tower, which was built in 1256, was demolished as it had fallen into disrepair. The replacement was built by Joseph Plepp, Antoni Graber and Hans Stähli to hold about 60 to 70 prisoners.

The tower was used as a prison through the late 19th century. Once prisoners were no longer held in the Käfigturm the role of the tower changed. It was, at different times, used to store state archives and court records. It held a wine shop. It was a library and an exhibition center.

Käfigturm isn't the only clock tower in Bern. However, it may be the most striking. The bell dates to 1643 and still functions today. Originally, the bell was struck by hand. A mechanism for striking wasn't added until the 19th century, but it still rings as long as the clock is tightened. An inscription on the bell, which was made in eastern France, reads, "May my voice be a terror to all evil spirts."

Serving a dual purpose as a prison and a city gate, visitors can still walk through the tower or ride a trolley that travels along Marktgasse. Tourists can also enter the building, though tours often focus on the building's exterior rather than its interior.

Why You Should Visit:
To see a tower where prisoners were once held in the Old City.
To admire the historic clockwork, bell and city gate.

Tip:
If you plan your walking tour around Marktgasse you will easily reach Käfigturm. Don't be afraid to linger as the streets are made to be friendly to pedestrians.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Bern. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Käfigturm (Prison Tower) on Map

Sight Name: Käfigturm (Prison Tower)
Sight Location: Bern, Switzerland (See walking tours in Bern)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Bern, Switzerland

Create Your Own Walk in Bern

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Fountains and Statues Walking Tour

Fountains and Statues Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Bern's Historical Churches

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Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Bern Introduction Walking Tour

Bern Introduction Walking Tour

The de facto capital of Switzerland and the eponymous German-speaking canton, Bern is commonly referred to by the Swiss as their "federal city". Built around a crook in the Aare River, it traces the origins back to the 12th century. According to the local legend, Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen, founder of Bern, vowed to name the city after the first animal he killed on the hunt, which...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

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