The city of Zürich has many fountains – in plazas and on streetcorners. Some are decorative, some are commemorative, and some are purely functional – but all are potable. On my morning walk I pass at least two such fountains, and always pause for a drink. They run constantly, even through the winter, and thus always taste cool and fresh. It is a delightful public service and a boon to those who’d rather refill a water bottle than purchase yet another disposable bottle of water.
This elaborate fountain sits in a courtyard garden called Zentralhof, in one of the oldest quarters of the city beside Bahnhofstrasse and not far from some long-buried (but recently rediscovered) ruins of Roman baths.
In a common traditional design, the fountain pours into a pool over which metal bars can support a summer-time planter. Such fountains (like this one on Bahnhofstrasse) also have streams that pour water over gaps in the metal bars, on which a villager could rest a pot to collect water.
Other fountains are more plain and functional; like many, this has a mini fountain at its base so your dog can drink as well.
And some newer fountains take a more contemporary approach, yet blend it with the natural world so ingrained in Swiss consciousness, such as this rocky fountain near an entrance to the Universitätsspital.
As I varied the routes of my morning walk, I began to realize the huge variety of fountains, and it occurred to me it might be fun to find them all. Since most (if not all) appear on a street corner, i.e., at intersections, the challenge appeared to be similar to the famous Hamiltonian Path problem in computer science: given a graph of vertices (intersections) connected by edges (street segments), devise a path that visits each vertex exactly once. No such option existed for me, as I spread my travels out over several weeks and must begin/end each walk at the same point. But I’ve tracked my walks as a means of finding new routes to cover each day; here’s how it looks so far:
See the gallery for more shots of the above fountains. More fountain pix yet to come!
The city apparently has a project underway to refresh and renovate some of the historical fountains.