The St. Mauritius fountain is one of the five figurative fountains built in the 16th century. It is the only one that still has the original slab fountain.
The figure on the fountain column embodies the Saint Mauritius. It was created by the sculptor Hans Gieng from Freiburg i.Ü. According to legend, Mauritius was the commander of the famous 11th Theban Legion, which was excavated near Thebes in Upper Egypt during the Roman Empire. Officers and crew were already mostly Christians. After their transfer to the area on the upper Lake Geneva, the legion refused to take action against Christians there. By order of Emperor Maximian, Mauritius and many of his comrades were executed. Urs and Viktor - the later city saints of Solothurn - and other members of the Legion fled to the Roman city of Solothurn. Since they refused to worship foreign deities, they too died a martyr's death.
Mauritius is commemorated by the town of St. Maurice with its famous abbey, where his grave is still revered today. Also the "holy number 11" refers to Mauritius and its 11th Theban legion.
Just as St. Mauritius is equipped, his image does not correspond to that of a Roman officer. With his armour, his shield and the red and white flag, he rather resembles a medieval confederate warrior. This gives a connection to the nearby Museum Altes Zeughaus, which has more than 400 armours in its inventory.
Next to the St. Mauritius fountain there is a name plate on the wall of the building. It commemorates Carl Robert Enzmann, vicar of St. Ursen Cathedral and composer of the famous Solothurn song "Es lit es Stedtli wunderhübsch am blauen Aarestrand, s'isch immer so gsi...".
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.