The Worlds Most Beautiful Fountains

Fountains have been with us for thousands of years. Whereas in the past they may have provided a source of water, today they serve a decorative process. Adoring city plazas, each one attempts to outdo the competition in another country or continent. In times past they used gravity to bring the water from springs, aquifers or aqueducts to the general population. However prior to the late 1800’s, a water source higher than the fountains themselves was required.

The Romans were particularly fond of fountains and were especially adept at not only engineering them but decorating them. The fountains were often decorated in bronze or stone carvings. Sometimes they would celebrate battles, heroes or animals but on occasion they would pay homage to those who constructed or funded them. Often used as a status symbol or for religious significance fountains grew ever more complex. King Louis the fourteenth of France used fountains extensively at Versailles, just outside Paris, to demonstrate his power and command over nature.

At the end of the nineteenth century with the advent of indoor plumbing, the use of a fountain as a drinking water source became largely redundant. Mechanical pumps came into use which allowed for the water to be recycled in a continuous loop. With this increased power to pump water came certain innovations. Not only was it useful for moving the water about it could also be used to send the water high into the air. Two stunning modern examples of this can be found in Europe and the Middle East. The Jet d’Eau in Lake Geneva shoots water to a height of 141 metres. In Saudi Arabia the fountain named after King Fahd spouts the water up to an incredible height of 260 metres. That is 850 feet above sea level.


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In the 20th century fountains became ever more complex and eye catching. With electrical pumps, lighting and choreographed displays truly spectacular shows could be created. Notable examples of these are seen in Las Vegas and Barcelona. In Las Vegas Caesars Palace had one of the most impressive displays until it was upstaged by the Bellagio Fountains that were opened in 1998. The fountain utilises 1200 nozzles which are coordinated with 4500 lights. The Barcelona fountain known as the Magic Fountain of Montjuic like the Vegas one is a truly stunning display of light, colour, music and choreography. Set on many levels as it climbs a gradual incline towards the National Palau it attracts thousands of visitors every evening as the sun goes down. Whilst perceived as a modern wonder the fountain was built in 1929 in less than a year which makes it even more amazing.

As we move into the 21st century fountains will no doubt continue to grow ever more complex in a bid to keep the wow factor alive.

Jonathan Fox writes guest articles for Fountains Direct and covers topics on fountains.

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