Exploring Bern: Fountains and Other Figures

Switzerland definitely had a different ambiance than the other European regions we have visited. I don’t know why or the history of its construction, but, historically speaking, I suspect the influence of the Greeks and Romans lost a lot of its power this far north. One thing we saw a lot of in Bern, though, that I don’t remember seeing so much of in other places, are the painted, almost folk-tale-esqu statues that adorn the fountains and protrude from various buildings. It really does add a bit of Brothers Grimm to the atmosphere. I understand they are Renaissance era.

I believe this is the justice fountain. If you click on the photo, and then click on the enlargement, you can see some of the many details.

I believe this is the justice fountain. If you click on the photo, and then click on the enlargement, you can see some of the many details.

Stoney conducted a GPS-led hunt for this bad boy…

This is the ogre fountain. Stoney HAD to hunt it down.Note that he is stuffing his face with little children. An effective tool for Renaissance parents?

This is the ogre fountain. Note that he is stuffing his face with little children. An effective tool for Renaissance parents?

I also took a photo of Samson killing the lion on a fountain, but the lighting was too bad to print. All told, I understand there are 11 of these fountains. There are plenty of regular fountains, too, though. My favorite was a modern play fountain in one of the plazas.

So pretty, and cooling, too!

So pretty, and cooling, too!

The other interesting feature was cartoonish people just standing on walls. Such an interesting ensemble! Why these people, on these buildings? I didn’t get an answer to that question, just photos.

He looks like a musketeer, but I think not. Why is he there?

He looks like an awe-weilding musketeer, but I think not.

Is that an African flag of some sort? Perhaps that helps explain these guys?

Is that an African flag of some sort? Perhaps that helps explain these guys?

The city clock tower also had some intriguing figures. Some minutes before the clock chimed the hour, there was a bit of a show; and then a little after the hour (why?) it chimed and the figures moved. The ones in the top moved with the chiming of the bell, but did not seem to be actually striking the bell.

The city clock tower.

The city clock tower. The close-up, next photo, shows the details better.

To the right are little carved figures.

To the right are little carved figures.

A crowd definitely gathered at the hour in anticipation of the show. Frankly, I thought the little figures would do more. They are centuries old, though!

And that is our first introduction to Old Town Bern. If anyone knows more about the little people on the buildings down market street, I would love to hear the story. (UPDATE: Thank you, Anne Noelle, for identifying the building with the African as the Lithuanian embassy! So the questions remains: why?)

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