Final Fountains

My final post about fountains.

Two months ago when I set out to share with you the amazing variety of fountains in Zürich, I never imagined it would keep me so busy. It was a fine project during those weeks when I was unable to travel far.

Today I’ve posted a final batch of 16 photos (starting here), emphasizing decorative fountains. Most, if not all, of these fountains are for enjoyment rather than nourishment.

Early morning in a square along Rämistrasse.

In my first post I wrote “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.” As of today, I’ve photographed about 161 fountains (though I hear there are about 1200 fountains in Zurich); the map around my home (orange arrow) looks like this:

I managed to make a thorough coverage of the intersections in the hillside between Altstadt (by the lake) and Zurichberg (at top right).

Here’s another pair of maps, showing the location of all the fountains (all my photos are geo-tagged). The numbers represent photos, not fountains, so they over-count fountains; also, photos that are close together are aggregated into a single bubble on the map. The first map covers all of Zürich; the second map zooms in to my home turf.

Map of fountains whose photos I published; counts indicate photos not fountains; some counts are aggregated.
Map of fountains whose photos I published; counts indicate photos not fountains; some counts are aggregated.

You can find all the posts here and all the photos here. To wrap up, below is one of the first fountains I saw in Zürich – in the mall under the train station.

A decorative fountain in the underground mall at HB in Zürich.

Geiser fountain

A monument to the city architect.

One of the most domineering fountains I’ve encountered in Zürich is in Bürkliplatz, a beautiful park between the edge of Altstadt (old town) and the lakefront. It is clearly dedicated to an Arnold Geiser.

One of many public fountains in Zürich.

It turns out that Mr. Geiser was the city architect during a formative period in the latter half of the 19th century. According to this page, “At his death the city architect Arnold Geiser (1844-1909) left behind a legacy ‘for a monument to beautify the city.’ The city organised a competition under the Zürich artists. The winner, Jacob Brüllmann was surprisingly not from Zürich, but citizen of Weinfelden and living in Stuttgart. The foundations for the massive sculpture was designed by the architect Jean Freytag. On 20 October 1911, the entire monument was passed as ‘Stierbändiger-Brunnen’ (Bull Tamer Fountain) to the public.”

Two more photos in my gallery starting here.

More detail about Geiser here and here.

Fountains of Altstadt

Seven fountains from Zürich’s old town.

The old-town area of Zürich includes many of the most dramatic and interesting fountains, some of which I’ve already shared here. Today I’m posting 22 photos from seven fountains, all within a few blocks of each other. They start here in the gallery.

The Stüssihofstatt fountain, below, was described by another blogger as “a memorial built in honor of the former Bürgermeister [Mayor] Rudolf Stüssi, killed in battle not far from here.” It is one of the few painted fountains in Zürich – which we saw to be far more common in Bern.

An impressive statue fountain in the heart of old Zürich.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the story behind any of the other fountains. The I particularly like this one, a very dynamic sculpture of a man battling a lion.

An impressive statue fountain along the Limmat in old Zürich.

And this one follows a common theme – a young maiden bathing.

A pretty fountain next to Landesmuseum and beside the Limmat river.

Finally, a more contemporary design (1932), a multi-level fountain with a statue of a rearing horse.

A grand fountain on the southern edge of Alt Zurich.

For more photos of these and three other fountains, start here in the gallery.

Basel-isk fountain

Another fountain imported from a distant city.

I came across this fountain in the newer section of Zürich’s downtown area, early one Sunday morning. It’s an unusual and intriguing figure – a sort of dragon-like rooster with a snake’s tail. It looked familiar; I later remembered that it is a fountain common in Basel, which I’d seen during my February visit (like this photo).

This style of fountain is common in Basel, but unique in Zurich.

For three close-up photos, start here.

Update June 29: a friend informs me this creature is more likely a cockatrice, not a basilisk, but then the pun doesn’t work quite as well ;-).

Utilitarian fountains

A variety of Zürich fountains.

Today I’m posting a collection of a variety of Zürich fountains, mostly utilitarian in nature. though each different in their own way. See them in the gallery beginning here.

A common two-spout large-pool fountain in Alt Zurich, with a simple post rather than a statue.

The photo above shows a common form for the fountain’s spouts – a lion blowing water through a tube whose end looks like a duck (or goose). The lion is a common symbol of Zürich and the duck/goose motif is common on many spouts around town.

Münzplatz fountain

A pretty fountain in Münzplatz.

I found this fountain particularly cheerful, in early spring when many of the city’s trees and gardens were still brown. There is a florist on the corner of this plaza, and it may be that shop which tends to the pretty flowers and bonsai-like bush in the planter at center of this fountain. Three more photos in the gallery, starting here.

A pretty fountain in Müntzplatz, Zürich.


Zürich’s emergency water supply.

I’d seen a few of these contemporary-looking fountains around town, and included this photo in a collection of otherwise nondescript fountains last week. It turns out, however, that these fountains have an interesting story as well as a functional design.

One of Zürich’s ‘Notwasser’ fountains, serving as emergency water supply. This one has a doggy bowl too.

I learned from a post on zurich1200fountains (which also has a prettier picture) that these fountains were built specifically as an emergency water supply for Zürich, with a separate water source – indeed, one that does not depend on electric power. These Notwasserbrunnen originated as the result of a competition in 1973, according to this page. From what I discern through Google Translate, “A special internal construction allows a tap to be connected and thus to enable the population to draw water with buckets in an emergency.”

“Eighty of these special drinking fountains have been installed in the city
area. The city of Zurich’s emergency water supply is based on an independent emergency water network that, with spring water from the Sihl and Lorzetal, and is fed by city sources. In addition to the emergency water wells, there are around 300 more wells with separate spring water network. This works with a natural slope and is therefore also independent of the power supply.” [Google translation of this page, with some editing; I welcome corrections from my German-speaking friends!]

Frozen fountain

A dragon that breathes ice instead of fire.

Today I’m going to cite another blogger’s post – because it is so cool. As I noted early in this series, most of Zürich’s fountains run throughout the winter, their continuous stream of water preventing them from freezing. (That, and it rarely got below freezing this winter.) I recently discovered, in which a 2012 blogger cataloged 170 fountains before tiring. In one post, the blog shows the Escher fountain in a cold snap; the photo below is from that post.