Lists! > Ten Interesting Fountains
10 Interesting Fountains
In terms of travel, November tends to be a down month. The Autumn Festivals have passed, but the Christmas Markets haven't yet started. It's too cold to spend a lot of time outside, but it's not cold enough to start skiing. In short, the month would stink completely were it not for Thanksgiving. So, to commemorate the lamest travel month of the year, here's a list of some of the most beautiful, interesting, bizarre, or downright funny fountains I've encountered through my travels. Some of these will make you wish it was summer again. Others will cause you to wonder what the artists were thinking (or smoking).
This is one of many weird pieces of art that have sprung up around German cities since the beginning of the Cold War. These have many forms, but one style -- as many shapes and figures in bronze stacked on top of each other.
Aarhus manages to make the list two times in a row, but this time for the wrong reason. The story: the fountain was dyed red to celebrate the town festival, but the dye they used had a soap base. The fountain was nothing but pink suds by the time I passed by later in the day. I wish I took a shot of it... but was out of time.
#8. Geneva, Switzerland
In the summertime, one of the great delights is to visit a big lake with a big, beautiful fountain on it, spraying cooling water over the baking crowds. It also adds to the scenery. The fountain on Lake Geneva can be seen clearly from the tops of the Alpine ranges nearby!
This particular fountain was interesting because it rotated. The reliefs on each side of this wheel described some event in Worms' long, storied history. The wheel rotated fully each minute.
In the same vein, fountains are a great enhancement for the ponds and lakes among Europe's many grand palaces. I use the Hollersee just as an example of a simple shaped lake with a fountain in the center, surrounded by lovely figurines.
I'm cheating a bit here, because the Wilhelmshoehe contains artificial waterfalls, not fountains. But the waterfalls are so lovely and serve the same purpose as fountains, I figured they deserved to be included. If you visit Kassel in the summer, be sure to take the 'water walk' and see all the waterfalls in this massive park!
#4. Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Switzerland is a fabulous place to see fountains downtown. The Tellerbrunnen, shown here, is but one example... a tall gilded figurine on a pedestal overlooking a flower-laden fountain base. Often the base itself is just as colorful and decorated, and the downtowns of Schaffhausen and others have a half-dozen such structures along the pedestrian walkways.
#3. Bern, Switzerland
But then again, some of these fountains beg for an explanation, this one in particular. The figure of a grotesque man getting ready to bite the head off a child is not the sort of thing that the American P-C crowd would stomach for very long, but here it is in the heart of the stuffy Swiss capital! Go figure.
I think this shot makes it to my lists on a semi-regular basis... it remains one of my favorite all time scenes. Trencin is a beautiful ex-Bohemian town in western Slovakia with one fabulous fountain of jumping water. I loved watching the kids playing in it on this really hot July day a few years back.
Most modern fountains don't do a thing for me, but this one does. It is a very bleak fountain when you think of it -- surrounding the sprout of water are figurines representing the various stages of marriage -- from bliss to family life to old age, which is depicted by the couple being so sick of marriage they are trying to kill each other. As a newlywed, I'm not particularly enthralled by the message, but it's so big and obtrusive, one can't help but stare at it.
(c) 2003 Tom Galvin