Seek Out Fountains When You Travel

Best for the Explore, Prepare, and Enjoy steps in The Intelligent Travel Process™.

Fountains do something nice to us when we are near them.  They are both novel and attractive.  Water fountains come in a multitude of forms and can be located just about anywhere.  They are intentionally engineered so their waters serve as a source of entertainment and pleasure.  One aspect of intelligent travel is to consider and seek out things you might not have otherwise as you plan your vacation or even a business trip.  One quick and memorable addition to your itinerary is to seek fountains when you travel.

Fountains Water fountains are located at locations like parks, elegant estates, shopping centers, city piazzas and even personal homes. From the days of elegant nobles to our current era, fountains have been created to please, rejuvenate the heart and soul, and create a spectacle that is different from anything else. In fact, who can resist the relaxing and flowing waters beckoning its viewers to slow down and turn inward to reflect quietly on one’s being? Alternatively, one can be joyfully entertained by fountains designed to shoot water from one point to another only to have the far point shoot the water back again.

Novelty Fountains

Fountains Over the centuries different artists, architects and technicians have worked in developing inventive fountains whose waters not only blast from afar but also sing out and dance.  Other fountains can drench the onlookers. From yesteryear you can experience this sort of wonders with more than 200 fountains at the Peterhof Palace, in St. Petersburg, Russia.  These fountains have diverse water designs.  You will find water coming from benches that squirt each time they are sat upon as well as outstanding towering eruptions.  However, the most famous fountain on the grounds is the Grand Cascades.

FountainsAdditional novelty water fountains can be found in spots such as Las Vegas where in the front of the Bellagio Hotel each half-hour (more frequently during peak times) a watery show explodes and the water performs a synchronized dance to the music. The show constantly changes and it as if the water of Bellagio learn new dances.  The whole entrance way to the hotel is like a huge water fountain with the hotel its centerpiece.

Fountains in Private Residences

FountainsWater fountains found in private properties are wonderful expressions of the artistic feelings and the character of the people who reside inside. Fountains may be found outside private homes often right in the center of the garden and are designed to bring out the garden’s particular theme.  Located close to a designated seating area, these fountains  create a fantastic background sound as people amuse their family and guests. Other water fountains found at exclusive homes come in the very front of the house. While many prefer inside fountains to be in a rotunda, others elect to put their fountains right next to the front door as a way to welcome guests. No matter what, fountains at private residences are always a resource of pleasure as well as entertainment because they transport people to a calm state of mind and either forget the troubles of the day or focus on the joys they will experience. Common fountains found at private properties are two or perhaps three tiered systems where basins go from small to large downhill and the water trickles calmly. Fountains encased in a specific figurine are widely used, as are geometric shapes to get a more modern day feel.

Not-to-Miss Fountains

TreviSome fountains are so significant or spectacular that they are not to be missed.  At Pair of Docs Travel, we  believe that the intelligent traveler should include them when planning a vacation.  If your travels take you near them,  try and make an effort to visit and experience them.  In addition to the The Peterhof fountains of St. Petersburg and the Bellagio fountains of Las Vegas discussed above, there are other fountains that into this category.

Not-to-Miss Fountains:  Italy

If in Rome you should not miss the arguably most famous fountain in the world:  the Trevi Fountain.  It includes several dramatic sculptures in the Baroque design.  Baroque art emphasizes exaggerated motion in an effort to produce drama, tension, exuberance and grandeur and the Trevi Fountain certainly achieves this!  The fountain — built over an ancient Roman fountain — was begun in 1629 when Pope Urban VIII commissioned Gian Bernini to design it.  Although Bernini’s design was never built, touches of Bernini’s original design can be found in the fountain.  Parts of the fountain were built over time and it was not completed until 1762.  Tradition has it that by throwing a coin in a visitor insures that they will be back in Rome at sometime in the future.  Consequently, every day some 3,000 euros are tossed into the fountain.  The fountain has been used in several movies.  Today, however, even those unfamiliar with Rome know of Trevi Fountain because of its inclusion in Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code and the subsequent movie.

Fontana dell’OvatoWhile you are in Rome, you should travel to the nearby town of Tivoli and visit the Fontana dell’Ovato or Oval Fountain at the Villa d’Este.  Villa d’Este is the name of the mansion that was built by a cardinal who was appointed by the governor of Tivoli in 1550.  While the building itself is not particularly noteworthy, its gardens are extraordinary and became the model for many Italian villas.  The most noteworthy sight on the estate is Fontana dell’Ovato dedicated to Tivoli and its many waterfalls.  The fountain is a waterfall topped with a statue.  Its name comes from the fact that the pond surrounding the waterfall has an oval shape.

Font Màgica del MontjuïcNot-to-Miss Fountains:  Spain & France

If you are in Barcelona, Spain be sure to visit the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc with its wonderful display of color, sound,  motion, and music.  Best viewed at night, it has many of the qualities of the Bellagio Fountain.  Carles Buigas, who had already been illuminating fountains for seven years, designed this fountain for the 1929 Worlds Fair.  Music was added in the 1980s and the fountain was restored for the 1992 Olympics.

Gardens of VersaillesIf you are vacationing in Paris, be sure to take a day trip to Versailles.  Versailles’ grandeur, beauty and history is only about 30 minutes away with easy access by train.  Versailles represents both absolute monarchy and democracy. It represents absolute monarchy because Louis XIV moved his residency and (effectively)  the capital there in 1682.  It also symbolizes democracy because  Louis XVI and his family were forced to flee Versailles by the Women’s March in 1789 at the beginning of the French Revolution.

The fountains of Versailles can be found in the famous Gardens of Versailles.  The gardens contain some 50 fountains and are one of the most visited public places in France. In fact while the gardens themselves are beautiful, it is the fountains that make the gardens distinctive. Be sure to see the Apollo Fountain, the Neptune Fountain and the fountains along the Grand Canal.

Moscow, Friendship of the People FountainNot-to-Miss Fountains:  Russia

If you plan a vacation further north in Europe to Moscow, Russia be sure to see the People’s Friendship Fountain.  It is a beautiful fountain with 16 gilded statues of maidens, each representing one of the 16 Soviet Republics and adorned in her national  dress.    Of course, since the Soviet Union is no more, the fountain is anachronistic.  Nevertheless, the beauty of the fountain remains.  Perhaps its theme of friendship among nations can today be thought of in broader terms.

Not-to-Miss Fountains: Singapore & China

Wealth at Suntec CityThere are also many not-to-miss fountains in Asia? If you are traveling to  Singapore, go and visit  the world’s largest fountain located in the Suntec City Mall. It is called the Fountain of Wealth. The fountain is a huge bronze ring which is supposed to be a mandala that represents the oneness of the universe. This seems to indicate that the fountain’s title is not referring to material wealth. However, since the fountain is located in the middle of a shopping center, its message is mixed.  Nevertheless, you will want to experience this fountain. At times during the day the fountain is turned off and you can walk into the middle of it where you will find a small fountain. At night it is enhanced with lasers and music.

Wild Goose PagodaIf you are going to be in China and specifically the city of Xien then your vacation planning should include a visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda Fountains.  These fountains date back to the year 652, but they have been updated some since then.  The pagoda is a sacred Buddhist site and a wonderful visit in itself.  But be sure to stay into the evening to watch the amazing fountains come alive with color and music.  It truly is one of the most beautiful fountains in the world.

Not-to-Miss Fountains: Australia

Sydney Archibald

If your travels take you further south to Sydney, Australia you will want to visit a wonderful classic there.  It is the Archibald Fountain which is located in Hyde Park in central Sydney.  The benefactor loved French culture and wanted something that would be appropriate in Paris. So the fountain was created by noted French sculptor François-Léon Sicard and was unveiled in 1932.  The central figure in the fountain is Apollo who represents the Arts. Apollo’s right hand is held out as a sign of protection for all of nature.

Not-to-Miss Fountains: Saudi Arabia

King Fahd'sIf your travels take you to  Saudi Arabia, there is a not-to-be-missed fountain in Jeddah:  King Fahd’s Fountain.  Actually, if you are in Jeddah it will be very  hard to miss since it is the world’s tallest fountain with water shooting up 1,024 feet!  It is also unusual because it uses salt water — drawn from the Red Sea.  More than 500 spotlights illuminate the fountain at night.



Not-to-Miss Fountains:  The United States

Epcot If places in the United States are easier to get to, there are plenty of not-to-miss fountains. If you are traveling to Disney World, be sure to check out the The Fountain of Nations in Epcot, located in the center of Future World.  The fountain comes to life every 15 minutes with a ballet of water and music.  Its impressive in the day time, but be sure to see it at night when the element of color is added.

RingsJust a bit further north in Atlanta, Georgia check out the Fountain of Rings located in the Centennial Olympic Park which is near the Omni Hotel and CNN Center.  The park was built for 1996 Olympics and was the central gathering place for visitors during the games.  The rings in the fountain are each 25 feet in diameter. The fountain is billed as the largest interactive fountain in the world.  These dancing waters perform to various pieces of music during shows which happen several times a day. To take advantage of the interactive nature of this fountain, you’ll need to jump right into the fountain.  If you (or some members of your party) plan to do this, you may want to come in your bathing suit and be sure to  plan the rest of the day accordingly.

JC NicholsWhile there are many other fountains in the U.S. to see, I’ll  finish off this list with two traditional fountains in the Midwest. First is the J C Nichols Memorial Fountain in Kansas City, Missouri. Actually, Kansas City is sometimes referred to as the City of Fountains, so there are many fountains to see this city. But here we will just focus on the Nichols Fountain. You will find it at the east entrance of the Country Club Plaza area. The fountain contains four horsemen which represented the four great rivers of the world — Mississippi, Volga, Seine and Rhine. (Yes the world seemed to only include North America and Europe and obvious choices such as the Amazon, Nile or Yangtze are conspicuously missing.) Nevertheless, that outdated worldview should not diminish your appreciation of this great fountain.

BuckinghamIf your travels take you to Chicago, be sure to see the Buckingham Fountain. Opened in 1927, the Buckingham Fountain is in the center of the famous Grant Park and is one of the largest fountains in the world. It has a layered wedding cake design and is supposed to represent nearby Lake Michigan. At night colored lights give it a special flavor, but it is as interesting, if not more so, in the day time sunlight.

A Treat

It matter not what brings you to a fountain.  It could be you traveled around the world to see it or it could be you just wanted a nice place to eat your lunch.  You will be captured by the sights and sounds of fountains.  Water has that affect.  We like to watch the water flow by in a stream or the ocean’s surf rush in. The same is true with fountains.  Something happens in our souls when we hear the pound of the ocean’s surf or the gurgle of a brook and the sound of falling water in a fountain touches us as well.  Water fountains bring us joy and amusement.  Fountains are a special treat.

Please make use of the comment box below to suggest other fountains, grand or small, that you think others would enjoy.

Doc 2 (Joel Heim)



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