Bratislava can be literally called the city of fountains, having over 140 of them. Which are our favourite ones? What is their story? Read on to find out more about the most stunning fountains of our capital.
Roland (Maximilian) Fountain at the Main Square
This renaissance fountain from 1572 is the oldest fountain in the city. During the king Maximilian II’s coronation, the city was hit by a tragedy of a great fire. The extinguishing of the fire was too slow and insufficient due to a lack of water. Consequently, it was decided that a large fountain at the Main Square would be built, to commemorate this event and to make sure there are sufficient water supplies for such extreme situations. On the top of the fountain, you can see a statue of knight Roland (the protector of the city privileges) holding a sword and supporting the Hungary’s coat-of-arms, however some historians claim it to be the Emperor Maximilian himself.
Ganymede’s Fountain at the Hviezdoslav’s Square
Definitely one of the most beautiful fountains which has been working in its original condition without any break for 128 years already. It is located in front of the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre and was, luckily, destroyed neither during WW1 nor WW2. It depicts an ancient story about a boy Ganymede who was abducted by Zeus’ eagle and brought to the home of gods, Olympus, in order to serve them nectar.
As Bratislava is a city closely connected with the Danube river, you can see stone water animals sitting at the edge of the upper basin – pairs of the crayfish, frogs and turtles. The little children figures at the bottom basin hold four most typical types of fish that live in the Danube – pikeperch, carp, catfish and pike.
The Water Stream at the Hviezdoslav’s Square
Hviezdoslav’s Square is a place exuberating with different fountains. Along its side, you will find a fountain called The Water Stream with a swimming pool-like blue water and a small waterfall. It is actually a water clock, signalling each full hour by the increased water stream.
The girl with a deer at the Hviezdoslav’s Square
Walking further through the Hviezdoslav’s Square, admire this romantic fountain which is an illustration to a German folk fairy-tale from Grimm brothers about a sister and a brother. In the story, the brother turns into a deer when drinking from a well.
It was created by a sculptor Alojz Rigele originally for a park in Petržalka. However, when finalized after Rigele’s death, it was no more possible to place it to Petržalka since it was occupied by Hitler’s Germany at that time. Luckily, a perfect location was found at the Hviezdoslav’s Square.
Sometimes this fountain is also called Diane and some claim it depicts the Goddess of Hunt Diane with a tame deer. Either way, we love its simple but magical design!
The fountain with the lion holding the city coat-of-arms
Check the SNP Square to discover this fountain standing in front of the Old Market Hall. The original lion statue leaning against the coat-of-arms of Bratislava is from Františkánske Square and dates back to 1592. The lion that you can see there nowadays is, however, a copy, as the original is deposited in the Bratislava City Museum. The city coat-of-arms symbolizes that the statue has been built by the senate and people of Bratislava from their own financial resources.
The urinating fountain with a fish
This funny fountain is situated at the 3rd courtyard of the Primate’s Palace and can be accessed either from the 2nd courtyard or via Uršulínska street No. 6. It can occur that the third courtyard will be locked, but you can ask the personnel of the Palace to unlock it for you.
The fountain consists of three parts – the basin is probably from a destroyed fountain that used to stand at the courtyard of the Ursulines cloister, the middle segment depicting urinating boys is from the original Roland Fountain, which was later topped by a fish fountain – the third part.
The Fountain of Saint George
Discover this mid-17th century beauty inside the Primate’s Palace courtyard. The fountain is inspired by local legends and depicts knight George killing a three-headed dragon. St. George, the patron of knights, is modeled after Archbishop of Esztergom Juraj Lippay, who ordered the statue. It was moved to the current location in 1930 from the Archbishop Summer Palace (the current seat of the Government Office of the Slovak Republic).
The woman with a vase at Františkánske Square
Františkánske Square originally hosted the “Lion Fountain”, which we have already mentioned. However, as it was considered to be out of fashion, it was replaced by a life-sized statue of a nymph. It depicts Goddess of Wisdom, Pallas Athena and symbolizes gifts of wisdom that are offered to the mankind by nature. Currently you can admire only a copy of the original fountain, dated back to 1998 (the original was from 1592). There is also another, a spookier story about the origin of this fountain.
The Duck Fountain at Šafárikovo Square
Many claim that the Duck Fountain is by far the most stunning fountain in Bratislava. Its author is Robert Kühmayer who created it in 1914. It seems that its inspiration has been an urban legend about little duck shepherds and a goblin. You can read the story here.
The Dancer at the Eurovea Shopping Centre
While there are actually three fountains at the M.R. Štefánik square (next to the Eurovea shopping centre), our favorite one is the dancer in front of the new building of the Slovak National Theatre. This bronze statue is beautifully illuminated at night.
The central part of the square represents the biggest of the three fountains, consisting of regular glass squares, which at the same time create the glass roof of the underground part of the shopping centre.
The planet of peace fountain at the Hodžovo Square
This interesting fountain from 1982 depicts a 3-metre globe with embossment of flying doves, messengers of peace. You can find it in front of the Grassalkovich Palace.
The Swan Fountain in Medická Garden
You can see this romantic bronze and iron fountain in the Medická Garden. It dates back to 1986. Sit on a nearby bench and savour the moment!
Družba at Námestie Slobody Square
If you like the architecture of the socialism era, make sure not to miss this site. This biggest fountain of Bratislava, built in 1980, rises at a truly monumental square with a large green area. It looks quite impressive, right? It is made of stainless steel and its core represents a linden flower which is the symbol of Slavs.
Still thirsty for more water? Let’s move away from the city centre to other municipalities.
Zuzana’s Fountain in Ružinov
Zuzana’s fountain was created in 1985 as a scene piece for a Czechoslovak movie Fountain for Zuzana. It is interesting to know that at the time of movie-making, it was not functional and had to be connected to fire trucks to be able to produce water stream. Since many Slovaks are proud of this movie and like the love story it represents, the fountain was renewed in 2008 as a symbol of local patriotism. You can find it on Kupeckého Street in Bratislava’s municipality Ružinov outside of the city centre. And now it has real plumbing and works tremendously.
The Veil Fountain in Ružinov
There are actually two veil fountains close to each other – a small and a large one. You can walk from one to the other through a nicely reconstructed pedestrian path surrounded by a park. The large veil fountain is a concrete giant and we simply love how the water falls down in tiny droplets from the veils to the basin.
Lovers at Dulovo Square
Another fountain in Ružinov municipality stands in front of the Apollo Hotel. The name speaks for itself – simple and romantic, just the way we like it :)
Author: Zuzana Mytna