Fountains of Bahnhofstrasse

Bahnhofstrasse is home to many beautiful fountains.

Bahnhofstrasse could perhaps be perceived as the “Main Street” of Zürich, leading directly out from the main train station HauptBahnhof to the lakefront, passing the most luxurious shops on the most expensive commercial real estate in town. It begins at the Escher fountain in Bahnhofplatz and passes the Wallace fountain in Pestalozzianlage, and very close to the courtyard with the ornate fountain that began my fountain tour.

There are three other wonderful fountains along this strasse. First is a rather heroic male figure atop a pillar at the corner of Rennweg, who I always thinks looks rather silly with pidgeon spikes on his shoulders; the fountain, though, has a lovely flower planter above its pool.

A major fountain at Bahnhofstrasse and Rennweg.

Next is a female figure atop a pillar in Zughusplatz, with her peacock, next to the Hérmes store.

A pretty fountain in Zughusplatz along Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich.

Finally, near the end of the road at Berkliplatz, is an elaborate fountain; here is a close-up of its spout.

One of many public fountains in Zürich.

I encourage you to visit the gallery here to see a few more shots of each of these fountains, especially the last. It has an inscription: “DA LIEF IHR DER KNECHT ENTGEGEN, UND SPRACH: LASS MICH EIN WENIG WASSER AUS DEINEM KRUGE TRINKEN. UND SIE SPRACH: TRINKE. MEIN HERR: UND EILEND LIESS SIE DEN KRUG HERNIEDER AUF IHRE HAND UND GAB IHM ZU TRINKEN.” Google Translate says that is, roughly, “Then the servant ran towards her and said: let me drink a little water from your pitcher. and she said: drink. my lord: and hurriedly she dropped the jug on her hand and gave it to drink.”

Unfortunately I do not know the story (if any) behind these fountains.

Gattiker Weiher

A pleasant, mild hike outside Zurich.

I’ve been a bit under the weather lately so I’m focused on taking easier walks closer to home. This pleasant parkland, in a suburb of Zürich, includes meadows, pastures, forested trails, and two pretty ponds. On this cool Saturday morning I was not the only one out to enjoy this little pocket of nature! Joggers, strollers, bikers, families, and even horseback riders, all hummed by as I explored some of the trail network outside Langnau-Gattikon. The ducks were in the pond, the wildflowers in the meadow, the cows in the pasture, and the smiles were on all the people. I capped it off by walking down toward the lake shore, reaching the Thalwil train station after passing through its flowering uphill neighborhoods. This hike was recommended by Swiss Family Fun. More photos in the gallery.

Scenes from a walk through the outskirts of Langnau-Gattikon, near Thalwil, near Zurich.

Münsterhof fountain

This two-spout, two-bowl contemporary design turns out to have two uses.

The large fountain anchoring the west corner of the Münsterhof plaza – in the shadow of Fraumünster church – is one of the most elegant contemporary fountains I have found in Zürich, and one of the largest. Its elegant spout arcs high over a large bowl to create a pool that refreshes one’s spirit – and a side spout pours into a smaller bowl to quench one’s thirst. I’ve visited this fountain many times; the gallery contains a few of my favorite shots from three very different settings.

The elegant fountain of Münsterhof plaza on Easter morning.

I stopped by early on Easter morning, when the sun was still rising over Zürichberg to the east, and explored different ways to capture the sunlight as it played with this fountain. The first shot in the gallery may be the most fun.

I visited again on a warm spring evening, with a tripod, to capture another view when the church was illuminated. This plaza is tricky because there is a bright light suspended in the middle of the square – here placed just behind the arc of the fountain.

The elegant fountain of Münsterhof plaza, with Fraumünster behind, on a spring evening.

Yesterday, now that restaurants have re-opened and all the plazas like Münsterhof are scattered with tables and happy couples dining in the late-spring sunshine, we went for lunch at a restaurant near the fountain. Suddenly, a woman and her dog approached the fountain, and the dog decided to get a drink from the middle of the large pool! He spent about 20 minutes walking around the rim of the pool, walking through the pool, drinking from the falling water, and very nearly shaking off his coat as he passed some neighboring diners. More photos in the gallery.

A dog enjoys the large fountain in Münsterhof plaza, as his owner tries to protect neighboring diners.
A dog enjoys a drink from the middle of the large fountain in Münsterhof plaza, Zürich.

Robot fountains

Some fountains remind me of a robot.

I’ve encountered this model in four places. At first I saw it as just a pillar with some geometric carvings. But I’ve come to see it as a face, which somehow makes me think of a stereotypical robot. The particular example below is only two blocks from our flat, and has grown a crown of thorns thanks to the neighbor’s rose bush. The others in the gallery give you a clearer look at the carvings.

Fountain quest

I still need to find another 1,000 fountains.

I discovered a web page claiming that Zürich has over 1,200 public water fountains, which means my quest to find them all will take quite a bit longer than I anticipated 🤭.

Today I’m just going to note that – despite the claims of the tourist-oriented page above – not all of Zurich’s fountains have an interesting story or sculpture. Some are rather straightforwardly practical, like the three below. All of them welcome a thirsty pedestrian, and most have a doggy fountain at their base! More photos in the gallery.

One of many public fountains in Zürich; note the little doggy fountain at its base.
This fountain is stainless steel and has a birdbath motive.
A rather functional, simple, modern, metal fountain.

Mystery solved

The story behind my “four muses”.

No new posting today… instead, a quick note about an update to last week’s post about the fountain I called the “four muses”. It turns out to have a fascinating story behind it, about a Paris philanthropist who funded the placement of hundreds of public fountains to ensure access to clean water for the poor and homeless. This “Wallace Fountain”, one of only two in Switzerland, is pretty special.

A decorative fountain on the corner of Pestalozzianlage square, in central Zurich.