Fountains were originally purely functional, connected to springs or aqueducts and used to provide drinking water and water for bathing and washing to the residents of cities, towns and villages. Until the late 19th century most fountains operated by gravity, and needed a source of water higher than the fountain, such as a reservoir or aqueduct, to make the water flow or jet into the air.
Fountains make fantastic historical monuments and still inspire us with their beauty and power.
Here are ten of the most inspiring fountains in the world:
#1 The Buckingham Fountain (Chicago, United States)
Buckingham Fountain is a Chicago landmark in the center of Grant Park. Dedicated in 1927, it is one of the largest fountains in the world. Built in a rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles, it is meant to allegorically represent Lake Michigan.
#2 Water Boat Fountain, (Valencia, Spain)
Located at Playa de la Malvarrosa in Valencia, Spain and known simply as Water Boat Fountain (or Fuente del Barco de Agua in Spanish), this sculptural fountain gives the illusion of a sailboat with jets of water. There are also other water boat fountains in Portugal and Israel.
#3 Banpo Bridge, Seoul, (South Korea)
The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain is the world’s longest bridge fountain that set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles that run along both sides that is 1,140m long, shooting out 190 tons of water per minute. Installed in September 2009 on the Banpo Bridge, former mayor of Seoul Oh Se-hoon declared that the bridge will further beautify the city and showcase Seoul’s eco-friendliness, as the water is pumped directly from the river itself and continuously recycled. The bridge has 38 water pumps and 380 nozzles on either side, which draw 190 tons of water per minute from the river 20 meters below the deck, and shoots as far as 43 meters horizontally.
#4 Giant – Entrance To The Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds), (Wattens, Austria)
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) is a museum, located in Wattens, Austria. The museum was built in 1995 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Austria based crystal company Swarovski. The Crystal Worlds Centre is fronted by a grass-covered head, the mouth of which is a fountain.
#5 Trevi Fountain, (Rome, Italy)
The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain. The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762, and it was refurbished in 1998.
#6 Cascades Of Hercules Monument, (Kassel, Germany)
The Water features and Hercules within the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a monumental Baroque and Romantic garden landscape. Water descends from the Giant statue of Hercules, passing a water-wheel-powered organ, various fountains, waterfalls, basins and grottoes.The dramatic water displays were laid out by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel from 1689 onwards, to display his power as an absolute ruler. He derived his ideas from Italian, French and English examples of garden art. The Italian architect Giovanni Francesco Guerniero was hired for the design.
#7 Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Fountain, (Ancient City, Thailand)
This incredibly ornate fountain can be found in Thailand. It’s situated in a park called Ancient Siam (also known as Ancient City or Mueang Boran). Built in 1963, Ancient Siam is dubbed the world’s largest outdoor museum, and the 320-hectare ‘city’ features 116 structures of Thailand’s famous monuments and architectural attractions.
#8 Keller Fountain, Portland, (Oregon, USA)
Keller Fountain Park is a city park in downtown Portland, Oregon, which opened in 1970. The central feature of the park is the concrete water fountain. Keller Fountain is often noted as a memorable feature of the public landscape in downtown Portland, and in 1999 was awarded a medallion from the American Society of Landscape Architects. The fountain was designed by Angela Danadjieva using inspiration from waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge located east of Portland.
#9 Fountain Of Montjuïc Palace, (Barcelona, Spain)
The magic fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) is a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics located at the head of Avinguda Maria Cristina in the Montjuïc neighborhood of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Designed by Carles Buïgas, the fountain is situated below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc mountain and near the Plaça d’Espanya and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona. The fountain, like most of the surrounding developments, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.
#10 Oval Fountain In Villa D’este, (Rome, Italy)
The Villa d’Este is a 16th-century villa in Tivoli, near Rome, famous for its terraced hillside Italian Renaissance garden and especially for its profusion of fountains. It is now an Italian state museum, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Oval Fountain was one of the first fountains in the garden, and among the most famous. It was designed by Pirro Ligorio, the architect of the villa, as a water theater, spraying water in variety of forms. It was begun in 1565 and finished in 1570.
#11 The Pineapple Fountain, (Charleston, South Carolina, USA)
The Pineapple Fountain is a focal point of the Charleston Waterfront Park, which people have been enjoying since it opened in 1990. Pineapple motifs are common in Charleston because they represent hospitality.
#12 King Fahd’s Fountain (Tallest In The World), (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
King Fahd’s Fountain, also known as the Jeddah Fountain, is a fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the tallest of its type in the world. The fountain was donated to the city of Jeddah by King Fahd, hence its name. It was constructed between 1980 and 1983 and was launched in 1985.
Located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, the fountain jets water to a maximum height, according to different sources, of anywhere between 260 metres (853 ft) and 312 m (1,024 ft) above the Red Sea. The fountain is visible throughout the vicinity of Jeddah. The water it ejects can reach a speed of 375 km/h (233 mph), and it uses saltwater taken from the Red Sea instead of freshwater. Over 500 spotlights illuminate the fountain at night.
#13 Volcano Fountain, (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) (Demolished)
Built in the 1980s, elevated on a circular pier on the Corniche near the foot of Muroor, the fountain looked like something from The Flintstones, “a page right out of history”. Also known as Al Shallal (waterfall in Arabic), the stone-paved fountain, surrounded by tiered gardens with flights of stairs leading up to its base, was lit up at night to give the cascading water the appearance of lava. Abu Dhabi’s Volcano Fountain wasn’t alone in the world: one was built at Honolulu International Airport in the 1960s and a more grandiose version entertains crowds at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. But Abu Dhabi’s still takes a place of honour in online lists of the world’s most beautiful fountains, along with the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas. It was demolished in 2004 as part of a redevelopment initiative.
#14 Fountain Of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, (Xi’an, China)
Located at the foot of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Music Fountain Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda covers 168,000 square meters, with the pagoda being the central axis from south to north. It is made up of music fountains, cultural square, garden landscapes, tourist and commercial facilities and is an important part of the Xi’an Cultural Area of Tang Dynasty. As the highlight of the square, the 1024 music fountains controlled by water pumps and transducers are set on the central axis of the northern square in a shape of “T”. When the fountains work in the evening, the artificial streams flowing from the ground make the square a world of colorful water with the embellishment of all kinds of light sources.
#15 The Fountain Of Wealth, (Suntec City, Singapore)
The Fountain of Wealth is located in one of Singapore’s largest shopping malls, Suntec City, and was constructed in 1995. A symbol of wealth and life, the Fountain Of Wealth is recognized since 1998 by the Guinness Book Of World Records as the World’s Largest Fountain. The bronze ring of the fountain is designed based on the Hindu Mandala, meaning universe, and is a symbolic representation of the oneness in spirit and unity and further symbolizes the equality and harmony of all races and religions in Singapore.
The fountain is made of silicon bronze, and consists of a circular ring with a circumference of 66 metres supported on four large slanted columns. It occupies an area of 1683.07 square metres, with a height of 13.8m. The sand cast silicon bronze, including all formwork and patternmaking was designed,manufactured and installed by DCG Design and Meridian Projects (from Melbourne Australia) in 1995. The base area of the fountain is 1,683 square metres. In the design plan of Suntec City, where the five tower blocks represent the fingers and thumb of a left hand emerging from the ground, the fountain forms the palm of the hand.
Apart from the jets of water cascading down from the ring, the centre of the fountain also boasts a medium-sized water screen, used for nightly laser shows, as well as a large jet of water which is occasionally turned on, and spouts higher than the top of the ring.