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The drinking fountains of Barcelona

13 November, 2009 (13:46) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Click to hear drinking fountain sound

The ubiquitous drinking fountains of Barcelona are unique to this city. I am surprised there is not more information easily accessible on the subject.

Don’t drink from this fountain unless you want to come back to Barcelona in the future.

When Mark and I first visited Barcelona together, in the early 90’s, we drank from the famous water fountain off La Rambla in which folklore says that if you drink from this fountain you will always return to the city. Now we live here!

This city is full of ornate and very old drinking fountains.

These next photos are of Mark using the water fountain at our nearest plaça here in Gràcia:

These ubiquitous fountains are an integral part of most daily life.

Being a life-long dog owner, I am always aware of where public water fountains are placed when I move somewhere. One of the things that first impressed me when moving here to Barcelona was how many drinking fountains there are on the streets. A person will pass many fountains even when walking to ordinary destinations. Some of them have elaborate sculptures with a street lamp up top, some are simple but functional, almost always with a Catalan flag emblazoned above the water spigot. While walking my dog I’ll wander across a water fountain in some of the most unlikely locations – so I did some research and this is what I found out:

These two designs are the most ubiquitous, normally with water spigots on both sides

After the civil war because Barcelona and Catalunia was the last strong hold against Franco, one of the ways Franco punished Catalunia was to not install a running water system for them while he sanitized the rest of Spain.

1) up the street from where I live 2) down the street from where I live.

As a result the Catalans had to collect their water daily from the public water fountains around the city. Now, decades later, and in memory of this hardship, even after a proper modern sanitary system was installed, Barcelona decided to keep the public water fountains in memory of this hardship.

In daily life one sees people making good use of these fountains; some fill up their water bottles. some use them to bathe, some use them to give water to their dogs, … many uses…

1) A homeless vagabond drinks and bathes with dignity 2, 3, 4) Barcelona residents make daily, practical use of these drinking fountains

1) Detail from an anonymous fountain 2) Another fountain sprayed with grafiti, located on an alleyway.

The following thumbnails are of some of the many, anoymous drinking fountains found on almost every street and/or plaça of Barcelona:

1) Calle San Joan 2 & 3) on small streets and alleyways 4) Outside Ciutadella Park

I like the 3rd on of these 4 thumbnails, because it has 3 spigots.

The following will be an ongoing photo essay on the drinking fountains of Barcelona, which I will add to as I photograph them. Most of them are simply iPhone shots taken while walking around or riding my bike around the city:

1) Quixote fits well 2) fountain and lampost combined 3) Very antique and barely functional 4) in repair

I love the sculptural drinking fountains best

These are all in my immediate neighborhood

More sculptural drinking fountains along Avenida Diagonal.

1) elaborate and sculptural 2) Many drinking fountains have street lamps on top 3) another gorgeous fountain in Gracia.

I have taken way too many photos to possibly share on this blog, but I leave you with a few more photos:

1) In Barceloneta 2) At World Heritage Site Hospital San Pau

1) Drinking fountain along the beach boardwalk is convenient for dogs 2) On a long, uphill hike to Tibidabo this fountain appeared like a mirage … right along the hiking trail..