Prague Hotels Articles

May 18, 2010

Fountains Of Prague

As in many of the older and more historic parts of Europe, the water fountains that were built were originally used as the main source of drinking as well as bathing. People would come to fill their buckets and take water to their homes or consume the water on the spot.

In the Czech Republic’s city of Prague, water fountains of all types stood in every possible open space. While the fountains used to be the main source of drinking water, they have since become decorative sculptures. While some fountains were simple wooden-framed reservoirs others were ornately decorated. Still others were statues and delicately carved sculptures of classical, biblical and natural themes.

Author Ignát Hermann wrote that once upon a time there existed more than 400 usable fountains in Prague during the 19th century. As time went on, there became fewer fountains – even less for drinking. Currently most fountains are seen mainly in recreational or tourist areas. The following are some of the more popular water fountains that you will still find fully functioning within the city of Prague.

Water Features at Prague Castle

Fountains have always been popular water features at the homes and castles of nobility. Prague Castle is no different. There are four water fixtures featured at this popular tourist attraction.

The first is Kohl Fountain, also known as Lion Fountain, located in the second courtyard of Prague Castle. Built in 1686, Kohl fountain is one of the oldest in Prague. This fountain was a significant part of the castle’s water and fire systems. Being one of the largest castle water reservoirs, one of its main purposes was to extinguish fires.

The third courtyard of Prague Castle is home to the Eagle Fountain of 1661. This small Baroque fountain is located next to the Gothic gate which leads to a small yard below.

Another water fountain located in the third courtyard of Prague Castle is the Fountain with the figure of St. George. The statue of St. George once decorated a fountain based on Plečnik’s design in 1928. However, the statue was dismantled and installed in Jiřské Square in the 1990s.

The Singing Fountain at Belvedér is one of the most magnificent fountains of the Renaissance. It is located at the Summerhouse of Queen Ann in the Královská (or Royal) Garden of Prague Castle. The fountain was cast by Master Jaroš in 1562-68 after a drawing and wax model by Italian painter Francesco Terzio of Bergamo. The wooden mould was cut by Hanuš Peysser. The fountain, made of bronze blended with bell metal, is ornately decorated with hunting themes. If you squat down below the level of the fountain basin you can enjoy the “singing” water jets. These jets produce a lyrical, rhythmical sound by the water dropping on a resonating bronze plate.

The last water feature at Prague Castle is not a fountain but a well located in the second courtyard. This well has an octagonal basin and a wrought-iron superstructure. The creator of this well is unknown. The iron grille is topped with a metal rose. It is located right next to the Kohl Fountain.

Other Famous Fountains in Prague

Aside from Prague Castle there are a few other famous fountains scattered throughout the city. In Old Town there is the fountain located in the center of Malé Square. This is the very oldest fountain in Prague and it is protected by a hand-wrought Renaissance grille from 1560. This piece of history has been updated through the centuries with mechanical pumps and stone socles added to ensure proper water flow. Artistically the angelic décor of this fountain make it a true masterpiece.

In New Town there is an 1890 fountain located below the National Museum ramp, which is embellished with a sculpted group called Tschechia. Tschechia is an allegory of the Czech rivers by Antonín Wagner. The fountain basins are made of Hradec Králové sandstone, red Skandinavian granite and yellow Untersberg marble. The bronze lion’s head waterspout makes this fountain quite an attraction.

Located in Kinských Square is a fountain called “The Trapdoor of Time.” It is a newer fountain erected in 2002. The two granite slabs (made from a cracked rock) symbolizes the trapdoor of time that “devours all deeds of man.” This fountain has 64 nozzles, 24 of which have a special bubbling feature that creates a unique water stream. 40 lights are used to illuminate the fountain at night. The jets in the central quarry-faced granite crack shoots water eight meters high.

There are still several other water fountains located throughout the city that hold their own special historical significance. Some fountains are still working but most are not. If touring the fountains of Prague is something that has piqued your interest, any travel guide can help direct you toward these amazing water fountain antiquities.

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