Four muses

A pretty fountain in central Zürich.

This small but ornate fountain sits on the corner of Pestolazzianlage square in central Zürich, right along Bahnhofstrasse.  It’s just over 2m high.  Unlike other fountains, it is not a drinking fountain from which to sip, nor a place to fill your kitchen pot, but its downward stream of water is perfect for filling your water bottle if you reach behind the four women holding the fountain’s cap.  I don’t know the story or symbolism behind this fountain, so I’m dubbing it the four muses. Two more photos at the gallery here.

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update 27 May: a reader tipped me off to the fascinating story behind this fountain. It is one of only two Wallace Fountains in Switzerland. The original series of these fountains were funded by Sir Richard Wallace in Paris in the late 19th century, as a means of providing free, safe water to the poor and homeless of the city. The four figures are “caryatids representing kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety” [Wikipedia]. Another page (in German) provides some info about this specific fountain in Zurich. Switzerland’s only other Wallace Fountain is located in Geneva.

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“Fountain from Paris, 1870, to initiate the 1982 World Convention of Water Experts in Zurich. The four nymphs personify simplicity, purity, sobriety and charity. They symbolize international co-operation in providing people everywhere with pure and salubrious water.”

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

2 thoughts on “Four muses”

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