Berlin’s Strangest and Most Unusual Public Fountains
Ah, Berlin! The city of art, history, and – you guessed it – peculiar public fountains. If you’ve ever wandered the streets of this vibrant metropolis, you’ve likely encountered some bizarre water features that left you questioning the sanity of Berlin’s city planners. Prepare to embark on a wild ride as we explore Berlin’s strangest and most unusual public fountains in this exceptionally long, detailed, and amusing article.
First up on our list is the mind-boggling “Bierpinsel” Fountain, located in the heart of Steglitz. Resembling a futuristic spaceship that crash-landed onto a pedestal, this 47-meter-high tower is an eccentric mix of a beer hall, art gallery, and – surprise, surprise – a fountain. Locals have lovingly nicknamed it the “Beer Brush,” a testament to the building’s crazed appearance and purpose. Trust Berliners to combine beer, art, and fountains in a single, weirdly charming endeavor.
Next up is the “Märchenbrunnen” or Fairy Tale Fountain in Friedrichshain’s Volkspark. Erected in 1913, this whimsical water feature is adorned with statues of characters from the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. This may sound cute and innocent, but let’s be real – those stories are dark! Imagine Little Red Riding Hood staring you down while water spews from the Wolf’s mouth. Spooky, right? So grab your basket of goodies and take a stroll through this eerie fountain-scape if you dare.
If you find yourself in Tiergarten, be sure to swing by the “Global Stone Project: Water” Fountain. This behemoth of a fountain is actually part of a larger installation by artist Wolfgang Kraker von Schwarzenfeld, who has placed five massive stone structures representing the five continents in various locations around the world. Berlin, being the cool kid that it is, snagged the “Water” stone for Europe. This magnificent granite rock, engraved with the word “water” in various languages, is surrounded by a pool of, well… water. Talk about a literal interpretation!
Now, who could forget the “Völkerfreundschaftsbrunnen” or the Fountain of Friendship Between Peoples? (Try saying that five times fast!) This socialist-era relic is located in Alexanderplatz and is a glorious testament to the power of friendship. The fountain is made up of sixteen bronze sculptures representing the countries of the former Soviet Union. These figures dance and frolic in a sea of water jets, symbolizing the unity and harmony of the USSR. The irony? The fountain is now surrounded by capitalist symbols like McDonald’s and shopping malls. Oh, how the tables have turned!
Feeling peckish? Why not grab a snack at the “Currywurst” Fountain? Alright, we may have made that name up, but this curious water feature in the Kreuzberg district is shaped like a giant, bronze currywurst – Berlin’s most famous street food. Designed by artist Martin Matschinsky, this delectable fountain pays homage to the city’s love affair with sausages doused in curry-ketchup sauce. Just don’t try to take a bite out of this one!
And now for something completely different: the “Pusteblume” Fountain in Westend. Aptly nicknamed the “Dandelion Fountain,” this quirky creation looks like a giant, metal dandelion puff. Its delicate structure is made up of hundreds of tiny water jets that create the illusion of a dandelion’s seeds being blown into the wind. A perfect spot for an Instagram-worthy selfie, this fountain is a must-see for those who appreciate the beauty of nature – and the weirdness of Berlin’s fountains.
Hold onto your hats, because we’re not done yet! Let’s dive into the world of the “Neptunbrunnen” or Neptune Fountain in Alexanderplatz. This massive water feature depicts Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, surrounded by four women representing Berlin’s main rivers. But wait, there’s more! The fountain is also adorned with various sea creatures, including a crocodile, a sea monster, and a seriously freaked-out looking fish. A true spectacle for the eyes, the Neptune Fountain is both beautiful and bizarre – just like Berlin itself.
As we near the end of our journey, let’s take a moment to appreciate the “Tränenpalastbrunnen” or Palace of Tears Fountain. A relic from East Berlin’s communist past, this fountain is located near the Friedrichstraße train station and was once a border crossing between East and West Berlin. The name “Palace of Tears” refers to the tearful goodbyes exchanged by friends and family members as they were separated by the Berlin Wall. Today, the fountain serves as a somber reminder of Berlin’s divided history, while also offering a refreshing splash of water for passersby.
Finally, we arrive at the “Struwwelpeter” Fountain in Prenzlauer Berg. Based on the 19th-century German children’s book of the same name, this water feature depicts the story’s titular character – a wild-haired boy who refuses to wash or comb his hair. With water shooting from his unruly locks, the Struwwelpeter Fountain is a unique tribute to the importance of personal hygiene – and a fitting end to our tour of Berlin’s strangest and most unusual public fountains.
And there you have it, folks! Berlin’s fountains are as diverse and eccentric as the city itself, offering a unique blend of history, art, and sheer whimsy. So the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of the German capital, be sure to keep an eye out for these peculiar water features – they just might make a splash!
Q: What are some of the most unique public fountains in Berlin?
A: Berlin is home to a multitude of incredible public fountains, each with its own charm and story to tell. Some of the most unique ones include the Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) in Volkspark Friedrichshain, which features stunning sculptures of characters from famous fairy tales such as Snow White and Cinderella. Another fascinating fountain is the Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain) located near Alexanderplatz, which showcases a majestic sculpture of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, surrounded by four female figures representing the main rivers of Prussia. Then there’s the Sträubenbrunnen in Schöneberg, an eccentric fountain that resembles a three-tiered cake with layers of water cascades and curious ornaments. Lastly, don’t miss the Bärenbrunnen (Bear Fountain) in Kreuzberg, featuring a bronze bear on a stone pedestal in the middle of a pool, symbolizing the heraldic animal of Berlin.
Q: What is the history behind these unusual fountains?
A: These unique fountains in Berlin have diverse and fascinating histories. The Märchenbrunnen, for instance, was created in the early 20th century by Ludwig Hoffmann as an enchanting space for children to play and escape the city’s hustle and bustle. The Neptunbrunnen, on the other hand, was designed in 1891 by Reinhold Begas to pay homage to Germany’s maritime prowess and was initially placed in front of the Berlin City Palace before being moved to its current location in 1969. The Sträubenbrunnen, built in 1984 by sculptor Waldemar Otto, was inspired by the traditional German pastry called “Sträuben” and has become a local landmark due to its quirky design. Lastly, the Bärenbrunnen, created by sculptor Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff, was a gift from a local utility company to the city of Berlin in 1987 and serves as a reminder of Berlin’s strong connection to the bear symbol.
Q: Can visitors interact with these fountains, or are they purely for display?
A: While some fountains in Berlin are primarily for display, others offer interactive elements that locals and visitors alike can enjoy. For example, the Märchenbrunnen allows children to play and explore the various fairy tale characters, while the Neptunbrunnen presents a great photo opportunity for tourists. The Sträubenbrunnen, with its cascading water and quirky design, invites people to sit and relax around it. Some fountains even host events and performances, turning them into lively social hubs. Nevertheless, it is important to respect the artwork and follow any posted rules and regulations to ensure the preservation of these unique public spaces.
Q: Are there guided tours available to explore the fountains in Berlin?
A: Yes, there are guided tours available that focus on the diverse and captivating fountains of Berlin. These tours typically explore the history, art, and architecture of the fountains and offer fascinating insights into their creation and significance to the city. Some tours are even tailored to specific themes, such as fairy tale fountains or fountains related to Berlin’s history. Additionally, many general city tours include stops at some of the most famous fountains, allowing visitors to learn about these intriguing landmarks as part of a broader exploration of Berlin.
Q: What’s a funny anecdote or local legend about one of these fountains?
A: A funny anecdote is associated with the Bärenbrunnen in Kreuzberg. Locals like to say that if you throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish, the bear will come to life at midnight and grant your wish. However, there’s a catch – if you happen to be around when the bear comes to life, it might just chase you down the street! Although this is just a playful urban legend, it adds a layer of humor and charm to the already captivating Bärenbrunnen, making it a beloved part of Berlin’s unique fountain landscape.