The small town of Sursee with its beautifully preserved old town was awarded the Swiss Heritage Protection Society’s Wakker Prize in 2003. Sursee’s location on the bank of the Sempachersee adds to its appeal.
Sursee (Sorsi in local dialect) is situated at the north-western end of the Sempachersee and has a picturesque old town that has remained largely intact despite the several fires in its history. Worth seeing is the late-Gothic Rathaus, or town and market hall, built between 1539 and 1546. It is not only a proud landmark of the small town but also one of the grandest town halls of the late-Gothic architectural style.
The only preserved pillory in Switzerland can be found at the southern corner of the Rathaus, a vestige of the medieval judicial system. The thief and witch tower also recalls medieval justice: in the 16th and 17th centuries, no fewer than 34 women were convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake here.
Further buildings of interest are the Haus Beck with intricate stone-masonry on its Renaissance façade and the Basel and Untertor gates as remains of the town fortifications. The parish church of St. Georg contains ecclesiastical treasures and the former Capuchin monastery which is now a museum of the order’s history in Switzerland lies on the road to Aarau.
(excerpted from "Hiking in Switzerland" by Switzerland Tourism)