Swiss Fountains

September 14, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing

The Tinguely Fountain in Basel, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of shadowhound via Flickr.

The Tinguely Fountain in Basel, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of shadowhound via Flickr.

It may seem a little silly to fetishize fountains in Switzerland (which is not to say that one should take them seriously, as many are actively absurd and intentionally amusing), but when it’s hot out (especially if you have kids), they are a delightful way to cool off in a hurry.

First on my list of memorable fountains is the Kindlifresserbrunnen in Bern. Constructed in 1545, these statues feature 11 figures from history and folklore, proceeding along Marktgasse as it becomes Kramgasse and Gerechtigkeitsgass. The most memorable figure by far is that of a stone ogre devouring children (kids love it).

The Tinguely Fountain in Basel is equally eccentric. It features an assemblage of quirky machines spraying water every which way. The structure is designed to resemble sculptures at the nearby Jean Tinguely Museum.

Other noteworthy fountains include the titular Jet d’Eau Fountain, which blasts a massive plume of water more than 450 feet into the air, and the Fontaine de la Justice in Neuchâtel, which features a gold-plated maiden representing justice.

If you find yourself in Zurich during the summer, the formerly seedy Letten neighborhood features two 400-meter long swimming channels (or pools) along the Limat in Upper and Lower Letten (complete with six-foot high diving boards), which are very popular with locals seeking a place to congregate and beat the heat. Music abounds, as well as bars, volleyball courts, barbecues, food kiosks, break-dancing and busking.

- John Reality

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