The Fish Fountain in Marienplatz – Munich.
The Fish Fountain or as it is called in German, Fischbrunnen, is a small fountain at the northeast corner of Marienplatz square. It is Munich´s most famous and oldest fountain. How old is it? Some believe it goes back as early as the 1300´s.
Fish Fountain Tourist Attraction.
There is so much to see in the Marienplatz that you could easily give the Fish fountain a quick look, maybe take a picture or two and then move on. It is exactly what I did! I was overwhelmed by the square, the buildings and the Glockenspiel, that I paid very little attention to the fountain. Only y recently when I looked at my photos and started to do some research that I realized, hang on, this is a very interesting story.
It is a very popular meeting place for friends and lovers. Crowds like to gather here. The water in the fountain is very blue and the fountain itself, is interestingly decorated. The original fountain was almost completely destroyed in 1944. In 1954 it was reconstructed by Henselman, who made the reliefs and the sculpture of the fish.
The story of the Fish Fountain in Marienplatz.
The famous Fish Market was once held here and gave the Fountain it`s name. But that is not why it is famous. Fishmongers kept their fish fresh in the fountain. It was also the site of a bizarre initiation ceremony called the Metzgersprung (Butcher’s Leap). This took place regularly until 1900 and currently continues in an altered form to this day.
The initiation that took place at the Fish Fountain.
Young apprentice butchers underwent a ceremony before they were able to work as fully fledged butchers. With all good stories there are normally 2 or 3 versions. This one is no different. The first version claims that they wore nothing but a sheepskin and a calf´s penis around their necks. They were spun three times and then thrown into the fountain.
The second version claims that the apprentice butchers wore only the sheepskin and jumped into the fountain. From here they threw nuts into the crowds and splashed the little boys who ran to get them.
The third version claims they had to jump head first into the fountain!
The fish fountain still makes headlines to this day. The Fish Fountain is in the spotlight every Ash Wednesday when the Lord Mayor (Oberbürgermeister) appears to wash out his purse by dipping it into the cold water. In this way, he ensures that the city’s coffers will be well filled in the coming year.
Where is the Fish Fountain?
On the eastern side of the Marienplatz square near the Neues Rathaus.