In the Old Town of Bern, you will most likely stumble upon a few ornate little fountains topped by various different figures. The fountains, many dating from the 16th century, include the rather scary Kindlifresserbrunnen that depicts an ogre feasting on children.
Take a walk down the Kramgasse and you will see two more popular fountains. The Samsonbrunnen by Hans Gieng represents Samson killing a lion. Walk a little further and you will see the Zahringerbrunnen by Hans Hiltbrand. This fountain depicts a bear in full armour with another bear at its feet.
The eleven 16th century fountains are worth hunting out when in Bern, a city that boasts over 100 fountains in total.
As you enter the Munsterplatz on your was to the Munster take time to stop and admire the beautiful statute of Moses located in the centre of the platz.
Built during 1545 it is in excellent condition and tells the story of the 2nd Commandment.
Zähringerbrunnen is a fountain that you will find close to the Zytgloggeturm. It was dedicated for Berchtold V, the Duke of Zähringen, (1160 - 1218) who is shown there as a bear in full armoury with a smaller bear between his knees,Berchtold von Zähringer is considdered to be the founder of Bern. The Zähringerbrunnen was built in the year 1542.
Kindlifresser - Brunnen is certainly the most famous of all of the many fountains in Bern. Kindlifresser is according to an old ledgend a man who eats little children and you can also see this clearly on top of this fountain. A row of bear-soldiers is lined up on the bottom of the fountain.
This monument was made by Hans Gieng, who lived between 1525 and1562 and 3 of the many fountains of Bern were made by him.
This is a really funny fountain in front of the Bundeshaus and no matter how long you stay there watching it, you never find out about the system according to which the different fountains will spit out water or not.
This fountain is really a lot of fun, mainly for children who enjoy running through the fountains, hoping not to be cought.
There are lots of beautiful medieval fountains in Bern (over 100). Even though most of hem don't have the original statues, it's still a sight to be seen the colours and statutes.
And also, at least for a Portuguese, the fact that they are standing in the middle of the street.
The "Kronenbrunnen" (Crown Fountain) or "Oberer Postgassbrunnen" (Upper Post Street Fountain) as it is situated in the upper part of the "Postgasse".
It has been mentioned in 1732 for the first time. The fountain of today was erected in 1820/25 and is the only highly classical fountain in Bern.
Bern people call the fountain also "Lischetti-Brunnen", since the Bern artist Carlo Edoardo Lischetti (1846-2005) has complimented the fountain with a stair and an observation platform above the fountain as a piece of street art.
As you work your way along the main street running through Bern, you'll come across a series of colorful carved fountains. Starting at the side closest to the Bear pits:
Photo #1 Justice (Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen, 1543), the pope is included with the worshippers at her feet, on Gerechtigkeitsgasse
Photo #2 Sampson (Simsonbrunnen, 1527), a pillar topped with a figure of Sampson wrestling with a lion, on Kramgasse
Photo #3 Zahringen (Zahringerbrunnen, 1535), monument to the city founder, Berchtold von Zahringen, it has a bear on it in armor holding the Zahringen coat of arms, on Kramgasse
Photo #4 Ogre (Kindlifresserbrunnen, 1544), this was my favorite, very grotesque, it shows an ogre eating small children, near Kornhausplatz
Photo #5 Ryffli (Ryfflibrunnen, 1545), a captain with a small bear, on Aarbergegasse
There are a lot more fountains that I didn't come across, the bagpiper fountain, Anna Seiler Fountain, Musketeer Fountain, Moses Fountain, Ensign Fountain, Messenger Fountain. They are all marked on the map that you can get at the tourist office.
This fountain represents Berchtold V, Duke of Zarhinger, who was the founder of Bern with a bear between his legs. The bear (symbol of Bern) is eating grapes. This image made us smile because the helmet and the armour reminded us of an astronaut and it seemed a bit anachronic. The fountain was erected in 1542, although the foundation of the city was earlier, in 1191.
Esta fuente representa a Berchtold V, duque de Zarhinger, que fue el fundador de Berna con un oso entre sus piernas. El oso (simbolo de Berna) esta comiendo un racimo de uvas. Esta imagen nos hizo sonreir, porque el casco y la armadura nos recordaron a un astronauta y parecia un poco anacronico. La fuente fue erigida en 1542, aunque la fundacion de la ciudad fue antes, en 1191.
Schutzenbrunnen: Located also at Marktgasse, this fountain contrast highly with Seilerbrunnen, the other fountain in this street. It was built as a tribute to a troop commander who is shown in full armour with a bear at his feet. It is a work by Hans Gieng
Schutzenbrunnen: en la misma Marktgasse, esta fuente contrasta mucho con Seilerbrunnen, la otra fuente de esta calle. Fue construida como tributo a un comandante de tropas al que se representa con su armadura completa y un oso a sus pies. Es obra de Hans Gieng
This fountain is located at Marktgasse and it honours the figure of Anna Seiler, a woman which donated a hospital to the city of Bern in XIVth century. It represents a woman pouring water into a bowl, which holds with her hand. It is also supposed to stand for a symbol of moderation
Esta fuente esta situada en Marktgasse y conmemora la figura de Anna Seiler, una mujer que dono un hospital a la ciudad de Berna en el siglo XIV. Representa a una mujer vertiendo agua en un recipiente que sostiene en su mano. Tambien se supone que es un simbolo que personifica la moderacion
Located in Gerechtigkeitsgasse (Justice Street), when some of the oldest and most beautiful Bernese arcades may be admired, the image of this fountain represents the traditional iconography for justice: a woman with blinded eyes, a sword and a balance. It is a work by Hans Geing and dates back from XVIth century.
Situada en Gerechtigkeitsgasse (calle de la Justicia), donde pueden admirarse algunos de los soportales mas bonitos y antiguos de Berna, la imagen de esta fuente representa a la Justicia con su iconografia tradicional: una mujer con ojos vendados, una espada y una balanza. Es obra de Hans Geing y data del siglo XVI
Originally located in front of Storchen Hotel, a place where most musicians used to lodge, it is believed to be a work by Hans Gieng, the same sculptor who made the Child Eater Fountain. It is now located at Spitalgasse. It depicts a bagpiper playing his instrument and it seems to serve as a reminder of the concession of liberty card to musicians in 1507, because it has a label about it at the column over which the bagpiper stands, although the fountain was erected some years later, probably about 1545. Without any doubt, it is a symbol of joy and fun.
Estaba situada originalmente delante del Hotel Storchen, un lugar donde solian alojarse los musicos y se cree que es obra de Hans Gieng, el mismo escultor que realizo la Fuente del Ogro. Esta situada hoy en dia en Spitalgasse. Muestra a un gaitero tocando su instrumento y parece que se erigio en recuerdo de la concesion de la carta de libertad para los musicos en 1507, porque tiene una inscripcion relativa a eso en la columna sobre la que esta el gaitero., aunque la fuente fue erigida anhos despues, probablemente alrededor de 1545. Sin duda, es un simbolo de alegria y diversion.
In front of Bern Munster, in Munsterplazt we found one of the most famous fountains: Moses Fountain. It represents Moses holding the Ten Commandments and pointing at the second one, which forbids idolatry, one of the main principles of Luther Reform. Again, image is used to teach religious principles to people.
Delante de la Catedral de Berna, en Munsterplatz encontramos una de las fuentes mas famosas: la fuente de Moises. Representa a Moises sosteniendo la tabla de los Diez Mandamientos y senhalando al segundo, que prohibe la idolatria, uno de los principios fundamentales de la Reforma Protestante. Otra vez, la imagen se usa para ensenhar principios religiosos al pueblo
This fountain is located at Kornhausplatz and it depicts the figure of an Ogre eating a child, with other children around him, who are supposed to follow the same destiny. It struck us as a bizarre image. It is located over an octogonal well and it stands at Kornhausplatz since of XVIIth century, although it was made at XVIth century. The image of the Ogre is traditionally said to stand for a Bernese Jew of XIIIth century, which allegedly committed a ritual murder, but perhaps it is mere speculation. It seems to me more probable to be a reinterpretation of Greek god Kronos, whose iconography always displays him in the act of devouring his own children. In any case, it is the most original work by Hans Gieng and it is for sure that this image will have been used to get Bernese children scared since it was erected.
Esta fuente esta situada en la Kornhausplatz y muestra la figra de un ogro comiendose a un ninho, con otros ninhos a su alrededor, que se supone que van a seguir el mismo destino. Nos impacto por su rareza. Esta situada sobre un vaso octogonal y se encuentra en la Kornhausplatz desde el siglo XVII, aunque fue realizada en el XVI. Es tradicion decir que la imagen del ogro representa a un Judio de Berna del siglo XIII, que se supone que habia cometido un crimen ritual, pero quizas sea una mera especulacion. Me parece mas probable que sea una reinterpretacion del dios griego Kronos, cuya iconografia le muestra siempre en el acto de comerse a sus propios hijos. En cualquier caso, lo que si es un hecho es que es la obra mas original del artesano Hans Gieng y que sin duda esta imagen se habra usado para asustar a los ninhos de Berna desde siglos atras.