Neptune Fountain in Gdansk
Neptune, which stands in front of the Court of Artus on Town Hall Square, is considered the immutable ruler of Gdansk and its personification. The well in this place has been located since the middle of the 16th century, but in contrast to the Court of Artus, magnificent and ceremonial, it looked unsightly. The decision to put an exquisite fountain here was made at the beginning of the century, the burgomaster Schachmann became the customer, who wanted to see something like a fountain in Bologna on the main city square. The author of the project was Abraham van der Bloket, who turned the facade of the Artus Court opposite. Work on the implementation of the idea began in 1606, and by 1615 everything seemed to be ready. But then unforeseen circumstances intervened: there were overlays with water supply, the Artus Court was rebuilt, and then the Thirty Years War intervened.
According to legend, when a fountain finally appeared on Dlugi Targ, he enthused the townspeople. Gold coins were thrown into the water from bounty and scribbled decently: the god Neptune himself was pleased.
The fountain, made in the Flemish style, was first launched in October 1633 and solemnly opened for permanent work in March next. Neptune became the most natural symbol for such a large and lively seaport, which was Gdansk in those years. A year later, the fountain was surrounded by a beautiful lattice. In 1761, I.K. Shtender changed the fountain by placing many figures of sea monsters on the bowl and at the base, which gave it a bright and catchy look in the Rococo style.
According to legend, when a fountain finally appeared on Dlugi Targ, he enthused the townspeople. Gold coins were thrown into the water from bounty and scribbled decently: the god Neptune himself was pleased. In response, he struck a trident on the surface of the water and sprayed ducats onto small gold particles, similar in size and shape to fish scales. Since then, these golden flakes (22 carats!) Can be seen in every bottle of the strong Goldwasser tincture. An alternative story says that Neptune, on the contrary, was unhappy with the coins in his fountain, but that sounds less believable. And the sequel to the legend says that at midnight, under the blows of the bell, the bronze god comes to life again and again breaks the coins thrown over the day into the fountain, so that the reserves of expensive tinctures in the city are not transferred.
Goldwasser recipe has been known since the 16th century, and even at that time particles of gold were added to bottles with herbal tincture. Today it is a relatively expensive, but the most authentic souvenir that can be brought from Gdansk.
Obviously, this legend was inspired by the characteristic pose in which the bronze Neptune was captured. From what angle you don’t look at him, it seems that the god of the seas is going to stamp his foot and kick the trident of someone below. The most dynamic photos of the fountain are obtained if you aim at the bottom and fit into the frame also the whole high tower of the town hall.
The figure of the deity for the fountain was cast in 1615 in Augsburg (present-day Bavaria), the second oldest city in Germany after Trier. The authors of the sculpture were the local residents I. Rogge and P. Gusen. In 1945, it, along with the rest of the major structural details, was taken out of the city. The smaller parts were walled up here in the pool. When the war ended, the fountain was returned to its place and collected after deducting the lost details: for example, a trident. In 1950, restoration work began, which went on for more than six years. And in 2011-2012, the fountain was again completely dismantled and completely repaired, updating the sculpture and the cup, underground water communications and lighting.