An Absolute Roman Masterpiece: The Santa Maria Water Fountain in Cosmedin

c_109__08491.jpg Archaeologists and restorers alike have stumbled upon a treasure trove of pagan and Christian relics on the site of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. The Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth} is a renowned marble sculpture situated in the portico of the nearby basilica. When the Santa Maria in Cosmedin fountain was constructed in 1719, it was off the beaten track and mostly unknown as a result. The part of town where it was situated was depressing and uninviting which generally kept visitors away. It was then that the Italian architect Carlo Bizzaccheri was mandated by Pope Clement XI to build a water fountain in the square outside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in an attempt to make the area more popular. August 11, 1717 marked the date when work on the church’s infrastructure began. The first stone to be placed in the foundation was consecrated and medals bearing the illustrations of the Blessed Virgin, for whom the church is named, and St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water, were also tossed in.

The Globe's Most Impressive Water Features

The King Fahd Fountain (built in 1985) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has the tallest consistently-running fountain on the planet. The water here jets up to a elevation of 260 meters (853 feet) above the Red Sea.

The World Cup Fountain located in the Han-Gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), comes in 2nd place with water shooting up 202 meters (663 feet).

The Gateway Geyser (1995) situated next to the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri is number three on the list. With water reaching 192 meters (630 feet) in the air, this water fountain is the tallest in the United States.

The next on the list is Port Fountain located in Karachi, Pakistan which shoots water 190 meters (620 feet) into the sky.

Number 4: Fountain Park (1970), Fountain Hills, Arizona - although it can reach heights of 171 meters (561 feet) when all three pumps are in use, it only reaches 91 meters (300 feet) on a normal day.

The Dubai Fountain, opened to the public in 2009, is located near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The fountain propels water up to 73 meters (240 feet) and performs once every half hour to pre-recorded music - and even has extreme shooters, not used in every show, which reach up to 150 meters (490 feet).

Propelling water up to 147 meters (482 feet) high, the Captain James Cook Memorial Jet (1970) in Canberra, Australia, comes in seventh.

And finally we have the Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951) which measures 140 meters (460 feet) in height.

Common Water Fountains Found in Japanese Gardens

No Japanese garden is complete without a water element. You will often find Japanese water fountains in the doorway of a temple or home due to the fact that they are regarded as symbolic of physical and spiritual purification. It is unusual to see elaborately -designed Japanese fountains because the emphasis is supposed to be on the water itself.

Many people also choose a water fountain that includes a bamboo spout. The bamboo spout is positioned over the basin, typically crafted of natural stones, and water trickles out. In addition, it is important to the overall look that it appear as if it has been outdoors for a long time. People want their fountain to appear as natural as possible, so they position plants, flowers, and stones around the fountain. As you can probably surmise, this fountain is symbolic rather than just decorative.

An alternate possibility is to find a stone fountain, set it on a bed of rock, and place live bamboo and pretty stones around it. Eventually moss begins to grow over the stones and cover them, and as that happens the area starts to look more and more like a natural part of the landscape.

Wherever there is plenty of open space, you have the possibility to build a more extensive water feature. Lots of people add a koi pond or a little stream as a final touch.

There are other alternatives if you do not want to put water in your Japanese fountain. Lots of people choose to represent water with sand, gravel, or rocks rather than putting in real water. Natural rocks that are smooth and laid out tightly together can be used to produce the illusion of flowing water.


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