Gushing water, dazzling lights and cutting-edge designs – what was once a purely functional utility for bathing and washing, became a most sophisticated piece of architecture and a thrilling expression of artistic creativity. Take a look at some of the world’s most fabulous fountains and let your mind flow with the way of the water.
The Unisphere – Queens, New York City, USA
It’s not really afountain that’s in the spotlight here, but rather the giant steelrepresentation of the Globe that sits within the pool inFlushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. The Unisphere wasconstructed as the symbol of the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair,whose theme was “Peace Through Understanding”, andrepresented the idea of global peace and interdependence. Theconstruction is 140 ft (50 m) high, 120 ft (37 m) in diameter andweighs 900,000 pounds (408 tons).
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic – Barcelona, Spain
Located at the head of Avenida Maria Cristina in the Montjuïc neighborhood of Barcelona, the Magic Fountain delights visitors with a fabulous display of light and water acrobatics. Multicolored plumes dance in three concentric circles to the rhythm of music ranging from The Godfather theme to a Spanish zarzuela. The fountain counts as many as 3,620 water jets and pumps 2,600 litres of water every second. What a show!
Vaillancourt Fountain – San Francisco, USA
Ever since its debutin 1971, the Vaillancourt Fountain has been stirring controversies,mostly because of its awkward concrete limbs that people have called“”howling obscenity” and “pestiferous eyesore”among other epithets. Now that its design is heavily outdated and thecity refuses to splash the annual $250,000 on electricity costs topump 30,000 gallons of water through the monstrous tubes, thefountain has become a night refuge for the homeless and is hatedstronger than ever. Pland have been developed to remove the muchdespised “attraction”, but Armand Vaillancourt, a FrenchCanadian artist who sculpted the fountain, says he’s going to fightlike a devil to preserve his work.
Giant Wild Goose Fountain – Xi’an, China
Set against thebackdrop of the majestic Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the music fountainranks as the largest of its kind in Asia and is probably the mostspectacular free attraction in Xian. Distributed over an area of 16.8ha, the water jets shoot irregular streams to the rhythm of music andmake for a particularly thrilling display at night, when the fountainis graciously illuminated by LED lights. With sucha marvelous entourage, the spirit ofthe glorious Tang Dynasty can truly be felt, whether you are aBuddhist pilgrim or a random visitor.
King Fahd’s Fountain – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Shooting 1023ft (312m) up in the air at a speed of 233 miles (375 km) per hour, King Fahd’s donation to the city is the world’s tallest fountain and one that truly takes the breath away. It is located off the coast of Jeddah in the Red Sea and consists of a single massive plume of water that, on a calm day, reaches higher than the Eiffel Tower.
Dubai Fountain – Dubai, UAE
The largest, the tallest, the wealthiest – Dubai is very much into record-breaking, ans so it is with the mind-boggling fountain set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, at the center of the Downtown Dubai development. Over 6,600 incandescent lights and 25 color projectors generate a mesmerizing visual spectrum of over 1,000 abstract compositions, making it the brightest spot in the Middle East, and quite possibly in the entire world. The fountain is 275 m (902 ft) long and sends water 150 m (490 ft) into the air, accompanied by a wide range of tunes, from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.
Oval Fountain – Tivoli, Italy
The astonishing UNESCO-protected garden of Tivoli hides a bewildering 500 fountains but one deserves particular attention. Cascades from an egg-shaped basin into a large pool backdropped by a rustic nymphaeum, Fontana dell’Ovato is a quintessence of Italian classiness and taste in architectural undertakings. Visitors may walk behind the semi-circular wall of water through a shaded arcade thickly overgrown with vine and peopled with marble nymphas. No wonder the place is the most popular destination for day trip from Rome.
Moonlight Rainbow Fountain – Seoul, South Korea
With nearly 10,000 dynamic LED nozzles running along both sides of the 1,140m long BanpoBridge, the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain is the longest of its kindand one that adds a romantic quality to the otherwise hectic andbusiness-soaked city. When night falls, the bridge turns into astage for a riveting performance of water, light, music and color.
Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy
In the maze of narrow, meandering streets, Rome hides a sparkling jewel held to be a triumphant example of Baroque finesse and the natural artistry of water – one of the world’s most stunning fountains and a work of art in one. Trevi is not just a cold piece of marble glued to the facade of the Palazzo Poli. The play of light, shade and wind makes it move in a mesmerizing rhythm that the hypnotized public yields to subconsciously. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water, which results in an estimated 3,000 euros tossed into the fountain each day.
Crown Fountain – Chicago, USA
A major tourist magnet and a vital addition to the city’s world-renowned public art collection, Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain is a unique tribute to the people of Chicago first and foremost. Located centrally in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park, two 50-foot glass block towers sequined with light emitting diodes project video images of the citizens who, well, spit out water to the utmost delight of visiting kids. Though the beginning were tough (many feared the artwork’s size would violate the aesthetic feel of the park), the fountain has found its way into the city’s popular culture and is now a pride and joy of most Chicagoans.
The Fountain of Wealth – Suntec City, Singapore
Right at the heart of the commercial complex of Suntec City, the world’s largest fountain epitomizes all that’s true of Sinagpore: wealth, grandiosity and harmony. The design iderived from the Hindu mandala, which signifies the universe and symbolizes unity of all who dwell in the Lion City. Legend has it if you walk around the Fountain’s central base with your hand immersed in the water and make a wish, it will soon come true. Doubtful, but it doesn’t hurt to try…
Bellagio Fountains – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
In the kitsch realmof Las Vegas, the Bellagio Fountain Show may actually be the onlyspiritual experience to be had… if we don’t count a staggering winat the hotel’s casino, but that’s improbable anyway. The dancingwaters that come to life on an 8-acre lake have become the city’smajor attraction that never fails to mesmerize spectators gatheringaround the pool every half an hour. The musical background tends tobe a little too pompous, but hey, it’s Las Vegas.