“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” ~ Washington Irving
Most cities around the world have a main square. You will find a church or cathedral along one side, and sometimes a government building opposite it. And then in the center of the town square there is usually some kind of statue or monument. Often you will find a fountain. Some are small, hardly more than a drinking fountain, others are works of art, showcasing a local theme or hero.
Another place we have found magnificent fountains is on the grounds of huge estates. We have discovered that fountains come in a WIDE variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and uses.
Please enjoy a sampling of some of the many fountains we have posed in front of, cooled off by, laughed at, or simply admired.
- Timisoara, Victory Square, Romania
A landmark located in Victory Square is the Artesian Fountain, also known as the Fountain with Fish, in the shape of a star with 5 corners. It was built in 1957.
This is an archaeological site associated with the Inca Empire, located near Cusco, Peru.
Natural springs were merged to flow through three waterfalls. The function of the site is uncertain, but it is thought to have been a royal bath and/or used by the Incas for religious ceremonies dedicated to water. It was also referred to as a fountain of youth. I think I missed a golden opportunity to turn back the clock, but we were discouraged to drink the water to prevent an upset stomach.
Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
We had to take a photo in front of the most visited water fountain in Peru, donated by New York City. It was cast in 1870 in the Bronx. There are 2 water fountains with the same design, the other one is in Central Park in New York City. The fountain used to have a statue of the Inca King Pachacutec on the top, but it was destroyed in an earthquake. In the background is the Cathedral de Santo Domingo.
Park de la Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain
This 70 acre historical garden is located at the northeastern edge of the old town, adjacent to the Arc de Triomf. It houses a couple of museums, the zoo, an enormous fountain and sculptures also attributed to a young (still a student) Gaudi, a lake, and open green spaces to enjoy.
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
This 1441 room palace was the summer home for many of the Habsburgs during their 600 year rule. Wanting a palace that rivaled Versailles, they invested heavily and decorated lavishly.
With the ending of the monarchy in 1918, the palace became the property of the Austrian Republic and was turned into a museum. In 1996 both the palace and the gardens were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Warsaw, Poland, Old Town Square
It was the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 that started World War II. Under German Nazi control, all higher learning institutions were closed down, and the Jewish population (several hundred thousand people, roughly 30% of Warsaw) were herded into one area which became known as the Jewish Ghetto.
As part of Hitler’s “Final Solution”, orders were given to annihilate the ghetto. In 1943, the Jewish fighters launched an uprising where they were able to hold off the German’s for almost a month. But in the end, almost all of the Jewish population were murdered.
Hitler later gave orders for the entire city of Warsaw to be destroyed. And he almost succeeded. This picture was on a post near the main square:
Today the city center in old town is vibrant with an abundance of color, rebuilt in the original style, filled with flowers, artists paintings, cafe’s with umbrella covered tables, and a center fountain. The mermaid on top of the fountain, armed with a sword and a shield, stands ready to help protect the city and its residents.
The Atomium, shown behind the fountain, is really much more the story here. It was constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Today it is a museum. The stainless steel spheres form an iron crystal that has been magnified 165 billion times.
Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belgium
Far more well known is Manneken Pis, which is Dutch for “Little Pissing Man”. It is a very small bronze statue of a young boy going wee into a fountain. On certain holidays he can be seen dressed up in a variety of costumes, but he was bare the day we visited.
Place de la République with the Arles Obelisk, Arles, France
Arles is often connected to Vincent van Gogh. It was from February 1888 until May 1889, Vincent lived here, and it was during this time that he famously cut off his ear and was hospitalized. But there is far more history to Arles, than just this famous painter.
In the center of the main plaza is an obelisk in the middle of a fountain. In 1981 it was designated part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments.
“The obelisk was first erected under the Roman emperor Constantine II in the center of the spina of the Roman circus of Arles. After the circus was abandoned in the 6th century, the obelisk fell down and was broken in two parts. It was rediscovered in the 14th century and re-erected on top of a pedestal soon surmounted by a bronze globe and sun on March 26, 1676.” ~ Wikipedia
A fountain and sculptures were added in the 19th century.
Fountain of Wealth, Merlion Park, Singapore
The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore, depicted as a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish.
Henriquina Fountain, Evora, Portugal
“The city of Évora is marked by the historic square in the Praça do Geraldo, where King Duarte constructed the Estaus Palace. The square is marked by the Henriquina fountain, dating to 1570, that includes eight jets symbolizing the eight streets that lead to the square.” ~ Wikipedia
The Alfred Escher Memorial Fountain, Zurich, Switzerland
Facade of the train station behind with triumphal arch dating back to 1871 and the statue honoring Alfred Escher in the foreground. Escher was the power behind Switzerland developing the railways, universities and banking system allowing them to not only succeed, but to flourish.
Sometimes fountains have unexpected uses 🙂
Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland
Chocolate Museum, Cologne, Germany
The museum is comprised of nine different exhibit areas that trace the history and culture of chocolate. Your journey will take you from the Mayan and Aztec civilization, the Baroque age and all the way to modern production methods. And yes, samples are provided from the largest chocolate fountain I have ever seen.
Old Town, Guayaquil, Ecuador
We explored the base of Santa Ana Hill, the area where the city Santiago de Guayaquil was founded in the 16th century. And at the end of the Old Town area, is a bright modern walkway.
Walking through the Plaza de Armas we spotted a group of men who have daily chess tournaments, the cathedral which was currently closed in preparation for Christmas and the Pope’s arrival, and a fountain where children scampered through to cool off from the heat.
Miracle of America Museum, Polson, Montana, USA
The inside of the museum consists of an enormous collection of Americana, including household items, weapons, a two-headed calf, a lot of military memorabilia, old toys, posters, framed sheet music, and a full-sized soda fountain.
Bucharest is Romania’s capital and largest city. Nicknamed “Little Paris”, it has the charm and character to live up to that moniker. Wide boulevards are enhanced with multiple fountains in each direction.
Palau Nacional, Barcelona, Spain
“…a palace constructed between the years 1926 and 1929 for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. Since 1934 it has been home to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.” ~ Wikipedia
Every Friday and Saturday night from 7-9 there was a water show, the Magic Fountains. We arrived early to get a good vantage point. Since it was not yet dark, the fountains were lit by sunlight and not the colorful display that happens later in the evening.
A few more favorites that we have seen over the years, but my pictures are in storage, would include:
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy ~ photo courtesy of Lonely Planet
Latona Fountains at Versailles Palace, France ~ photo courtesy of Flickr.com
Stravinsky Fountain, Paris, France ~photo courtesy of Pinterest.com
Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, NV, USA ~ photographer unknown
Catherine’s Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia ~ photo courtesy of Pinterest
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful that a fountain is not simply a fountain. It can be a place for fun, beauty, refreshment, or cooling off. It can represent history, provide an entertaining show, be a work of art, or anchor a public square.
Does your town have a fountain in the City Square? Tell us about it in the comment section. Feel free to add a picture if you have one. Do you look at it any differently now?
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