10 of the World’s Most Unique Fountains
Many of us enjoy the rhythmic sound of water. Spraying water. Rushing water. Trickling water. The sound of water gently lapping at a shore or raindrops on the roof of our home. We have water features in our yards and spend time near lakes and the ocean. Maybe it’s because our own bodies are 66% water.
Whatever the reason, if you’re missing the melody of water, and find yourself inland or in the midst of urban sprawl, try searching out a fountain to get your fix.
Jet D’Eau – Lake Geneva, Switzerland
This fountain is located in Lake Geneva where the lake empties into the Rhone River and is one of the largest fountains in the world. It is so grand that you see it from everywhere in the city and from a distance of six miles in the air.
There is a stone jetty that you can walk out onto if you’d like to get a closer look but beware, the fountain pumps 132 gallons of water up in to the air each second. If the wind shifts, you are likely to get drenched.
Peterhof Palace Fountains – Saint Petersburg, Russia
There are many fountains located throughout this UNESCO World Heritage Site complex, with the most famous being the Grand Cascade on the northern side of the Grand Palace. It is a breathtaking sight made up of of 64 separate fountains, 200 statues and many other decorations, including an amazing bronze statue of Samson wrestling with a lion.
As you wander the grounds you’ll see many other water features including one that resembles a large chessboard, a pyramid fountain, and one shaped like a disk which shoots out water to resemble the sun’s rays.
Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy
Rome is a city overflowing with fountains, but this one is the most famous. You’ve undoubtedly seen it at some point in a movie, or perhaps you’ve heard the legend about throwing a coin into the fountain? It’s supposed to guarantee you a trip back to Rome. Two coins? You’ll get a new romance. Three coins? Marriage or divorce, whichever your preference may be. I wouldn’t recommend throwing any more coins, you may go broke. I wonder who gets to clean out the fountain and keep all those coins?
The fountain is located at the end of an ancient aqueduct that was built in 19 BC. It was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762, and is an incredible work of art. The design is of Neptune riding a chariot pulled by two sea horses & Tritons. On either side you’ll see the two statues of Abundance and Salubrity.
Magic Fountain of Montjuic – Barcelona, Spain
When I visited Barcelona for the Olympics in 1992 I assumed that this fountain was a new modern marvel constructed specifically for the Olympics. Little did I know that it had been created years before for the Great Universal Exhibition of 1929.
It’s been putting on quite a show ever since and is a definite must-see if you find yourself visiting this city. The sprays of water in the 164’ x 213’ pool combine with music, vivid colors, lights and motion to make the fountain appear almost to be dancing.
Bethesda Fountain – New York City, United States
Located next to the lake and near the center of Central Park in New York, this fountain hosts hundreds of visitors everyday for a myriad of reasons. People come in the summer to relax and cool off, moviemakers love it as a backdrop (it’s been shown in many films) and romantics spend time near it being, well romantic.
It was sculpted in 1868 by Emma Stebbins, the first woman ever to be asked to design a major piece of art for New York City, and unveiled in 1873. If you look closely you’ll see that the winged female angel holds a lily in her hand, a symbol for the fresh water brought to New York City when the Croton Aqueduct was built in 1842.
Chocolate Fountain – Cologne, Germany
This is not your typical fountain, but being a chocolate lover it’s one of my personal favorites. Judging from the 5 million visitors the museum receives each year, I’m not the only one. Trust me, dipping a wafer into the stream of chocolate pouring from the fountain and then savoring it, is reason enough for a visit.
The fountain is located inside the Chocolate Museum in Cologne. In the museum you’ll find out everything you need to know about how chocolate is made, beginning with the bean right up to the delicious morsel you pop in your mouth. When you leave there is a museum that sells postcards, books, mugs for hot cocoa and of course, chocolate.
Dundas Square – Toronto, Canada
The Dundas Square splash fountains are the perfect place for urban dwellers to spend a warm afternoon. They are located in the center of Toronto, in what used to be an undesirable part of town, but thanks to a city revitalization project the area was improved and the fountains and square were built in 1998.
The fountains consist of two rows of ten fountains each that run through the main walkway of the square. They were designed with the intent that people splash around in them, so the water goes through a filtration system to keep it clean. If you’d rather not get wet, there is plenty of room to walk around and just enjoy that magical fountain sound.
Court of Neptune Fountain – Washington DC, United States
This elaborate fountain is located in Washington D.C. outside the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. It was created by the sculptor Roland Hinton Perry in 1897.
The fountain shows a scene from the court of the sea god Neptune. Neptune is huge, about 12 feet tall, and is surrounded by the lesser god Triton, sea nymphs and other sea creatures and monsters.
>>book Cheap Flights to Washington
Palais Longchamp – Marseilles, France
The city of Marseilles used to have a serious water shortage and in 1835, after a deadly cholera outbreak, the inhabitants decided they needed a supply of fresh water. They undertook the enormous project of digging a 53-mile canal from the river Durance. To celebrate the arrival of the water, the magnificent Palais Longchamp and fountain were built.
The fountain is a brilliant creation. It consists of four bulls and three female figures. The women each represent something different: the Durance river, grapes and vines, and wheat and fertility. Water pours from these into a basin and then a pond, eventually coming out of 12 bronze fountains lining a cascading waterfall area.
Generalife – Granada, Spain
Generalife is part of the Alhambra palace complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was the summer palace for the sultan rulers of Granada and was built by Muhammad lll in the 1300’s.
The summers were hot, so the gardens had alluring fountains in them to help cool the royal court. The most photographed is the long pool found in the Patio de la Acequia. It is surrounded by eye-catching, fragrant flowerbeds.
Read more about unique and interesting things:
- Six Islands to Visit Before They Disappear
- 9 of the Most Unique Art Hotels in the World
- 10 Lesser Known Natural Wonders of the World
Read about author Deanna Hyland and check out her other BootsnAll articles.
Jet D’Eau and Grand Cascade by stevesheriw on Flickr, Magic Fountain by colinjcampbell on Flickr, Bethesda by Photo Gallery on Flickr, Chocolate Fountain by The Voice Of Objective Truth on Flickr, Dundas Fountain by Kevin Steele on Flickr, Court of Nepture by wallyg on Flickr, Longchamp by orangejack on Flickr, Generalife by Marciela on Flickr, Trevi by khoogheem on Flickr