Before the city fathers dared to renovate fountains, they consulted outside experts in 1545 to get their advice. The first to be renovated was the fish fountain, the actual main fountain in the centre of town. In 1613, a stonemason from Delémont created the stick made of Neuchâtel limestone with a fluted shaft, which still exists today and is decorated with acanthus leaves and fruit hangings. The fountain column shows two winged heads at the bottom, spouting water with all their might from the dolphin mouths at the end of the long bronze tubes. The composite capital has rams' heads. A mermaid and a full-bearded Triton (mixed creature: man - fish) serve as shield holders. The banner bearer or Venner (the second most powerful official after the Schultheiss) crowns the column. He was responsible for the military security of the city and thus embodies loyalty and discipline.
The figure was made by the sculptor Jacques Perroud in 1587/88. The monolith basin rests on 8 spheres with finely curved pilasters. Around the fountain, six bouncing stones connected with chains protect the trough from the crowds on the market square. The fountain trough was made by Klaus Schnetz in 1780. The Solothurn professor Robert Rötschi (1889-1964) describes the square as follows:
Here is the heart of the city, where a fountain rushes and often the bustle of the market, and alleys go and come, light and life streaming and surprisingly abducting the gaze.
There, the cathedral gleams, but westwards an oriel beckons, the street runs meandering and colourfully branching down to the Aare. - In front of us stands the Zeitglockenturm, the greyed admonisher.
The moon and the sun circle in its shield, above it stands Death, holding the hourglass - and turning it. We shiver and commend ourselves and the city to a good star.
Guided city tours
Each of the 11 fountains in the city has its own story. The figures were used to teach the people. Learn more about the strict rules of water supply in old Solothurn on the fountain tour. A fountain tour is a good idea. Book right here.
Good to know
- The 11 fountains and their history can also be discovered during an individual tour of Solothurn's old town.