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Crystal-clear thirst-quenchers: the drinking fountains of Salzburg

Free of charge and accessible to all, the finest-quality, crystal-clear mountain spring water – “Untersberg Champagne” – flows from 24 fountains in Salzburg City. During the warmer months they are some of the city’s most popular gathering spots.

Actually, the city of Salzburg boasts a grand total of 48 drinking fountains, some of which are even listed monuments. These include such celebrities as the Residenz Fountain, the “Horse Pond” on Kapitelplatz Square and the Floriani Fountain on the Alter Markt. But also some of the less well-known ones, some of which are rather tucked away, are worth a closer look: 24 of them harbor a very precious treasure deep inside – crystal-clear mountain spring water, which flows directly from the Untersberg. We have given a few of them the once-over.

Wondrous indeed: the Erhard Fountain

We stroll along the old Nonntaler Hauptstrasse to St. Erhard’s parish church. At the base of the church, a small lion’s head looks back at us – and bubbling out of his mouth, fresh water which collects in a marble basin below. This wall fountain dates back to the late 17th century and was used primarily by workers at St. John’s Cathedral Chapter Hospital in Stubenberg – once located next to St. Erhard’s Church. The hospital was dedicated to providing for the poor and sick. Until the 19th century, it was said that water from the baroque Erhard Fountain could work wonders and possessed special healing powers.

Steeped in history: the Lion’s Head Fountain

On Ferdinand Hanusch Square, on the left side of the Salzach close to the Getreidegasse, we inspect yet another very impressive representative of its “species”: the Lion’s Head Fountain. Originally, this beautiful lion’s head was part of a bigger pumping well in the Kaiviertel district: a fountain that was used as a house drinking fountain as far back as the Late Middle Ages. With the expansion of the city in the 14th century, the existing house fountains were no longer able to meet the needs of the locals, gradually giving way to public drinking fountains. And so it was that the pumping well in the Kaiviertel was abandoned, though the beautiful lion’s head survived. It changed owners on several occasions until – in 1926 – it would be used to decorate the exterior wall of the “Fisch Krieg” fish monger’s, where it can still be admired to this day.

Modern: the new(er) drinking fountains

Also a pretty sight is the Duck Fountain in the Schanzl Park in Nonntal. Sculptor Hilde Heger was responsible for this beautiful drinking fountain – she created 21 works in Salzburg, including the famous Papageno in the Papageno Fountain in the Kaiviertel. The Blasius Fountain on the Bürgerspitalplatz offers a dashing combination of historical and modern. The basin for the fountain was discovered during construction work in the Münzgasse in 1956, while the sculpture was created in the year 2000 by sculptor Walter Meierhofer. At the end of our walking tour, we land at one of the most recent drinking fountains in the Salzburg historical district, standing on Anton-Neuymar-Platz. Right in front of the Republic café, we treat ourselves to exquisite mountain water from this granite cube. The fountain, incidentally, is activated by a sensor. Which means that everyone, at any time, can enjoy and refresh themselves with crystal-clear drinking water – in the very heart of Salzburg’s historical district.