Small and cozy Lviv Rynok Square, walking on it you feel at home in this city, you do not feel the pressure of houses, you do not notice the hustle and bustle around, just fine… Let’s talk here about sculptures, allegorical figures who have been watching the constant variability of fashion, people and Lviv institutions on Rynok Square.
Despite the fact that the central part of the city is practically on the water, and Lviv experts call “little Venice” (in the XV century. On the modern Rynok Square there was a pond, and under part of Svobody Avenue and other central streets flows the river Poltva), 600 years ago, the city had problems with water supply. As early as 1407, there is the first mention of a water supply system, through which water from springs from outside the city came to the locals.
The townspeople faced the question of building a water supply system, which was a difficult and expensive task at that time. Then in the eastern part of the square they made a water distribution point “Meluzina” – so named, from a huge bronze statue that decorated this point. Water mains converged on the Meluzina, and from there water was supplied to houses through wooden pipes. By the end of the XVIII century. there were already 16 water mains. This was the first water supply in the city.
But the reservoir could be used not by everyone, but only by those who had the financial capacity to lay water to their own home. Such houses in the second half of the eighteenth century. there were only 86. Thus, the majority of the city’s population consumed water from local wells, which often caused epidemics.
At the end of the 17th century, in 1697, another reservoir (or well) was built on the south-western corner of the square, called Neptune, from a wooden statue of the god of the seas, which decorated it.
The third reservoir was built in 1744 on the south-eastern corner of the square, known today as the “Diana” fountain.
The modern look of the sculptures has adorned Rynok Square for more than two hundred years, and their author is the Lviv architect of Austrian origin Hartmann Witwer (1774-1825). It is believed that these sculptures are the best works of the artist.
In 1810-1814, four fountains were built on the Market Square – one on each corner of the square in the style of classicism. During the construction of two of them (now – “Neptune” and “Diana”) used the already mentioned reservoirs.
Undoubtedly, everyone who passed by the fountains at least once wondered: why were the ancient gods chosen? According to the author’s plans, they embodied the allegories of the Earth. Probably set before the celebrations at the Market on the occasion of the return of Emperor Franz I to Vienna.
Each fountain has an octagonal bowl, which stands on the pavement – in the center of the star, lined with red and black stone. In the center of the bowl – a statue of a character of ancient mythology: the water god Neptune , at whose feet is a dolphin, his wife Amphitrite also with a dolphin (goddess of the seas), goddess of hunting, wildlife and femininity Diana with two dogs and among these immortals – the hero Adonis with a dog and the boar killed by him (the ancient god is associated with the periodic death and rebirth of nature).
Market fountains are not fountains in the literal sense of the word – they are wells. Water from them does not beat, and flows out in two streams. The bowls of the fountains were filled with water, and the merchants who traded in the market washed the greens and refreshed the fruit.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the newly erected statues of Greek gods and heroes became the cause of political and religious confrontation between the Ukrainian and Polish communities of Lviv. This story was described in detail in the newspaper “Dilo” in 1916 by the writer and scientist Vasyl Shchurat.
According to him, the Lviv magistrate decided to ban Ukrainians from the traditional Jordanian water festival in the Market Square, as he feared that this measure could damage the recently installed statues.
“When in Lviv in 1789 a grand celebration of the Jordan took place among the market with the participation of Bishop Peter Bilyansky, it had a mood of triumph. The Ukrainian community of the city of Lviv triumphed, which had to disprove the attempt of the Latin bishop, who ten years ago (1779) opposed the age-old Ukrainian custom of solemnly consecrating water on the Lviv market on the day of the Epiphany. The attempt failed because it could no longer succeed in the legitimate Austrian state as it did in ancient Poland.
The Lviv magistrate was alarmed at the suggestion that those mythological figures that were already decorating the wells on the corners of the Lviv market could have come from the Ukrainian Jordan. This is not a joke, because the Lviv magistrate justified his wish, submitted in a letter to the province, to ban the Jordanian bypassing the market and to designate a suburb for him, just so that those figures would not be damaged during the Jordanian water festival. ”
The statue of Diana gave its name to one of the most popular cafes in central Lviv – the cafe “Near Diana in the Market”.
In fact, there are two Neptunes in the square: another portrait of an ancient deity adorns the facade of the Bernatovych mansion at 8 Rynok Square.
Once again, the fountains on the Market became a big story during the First World War – the Russians willingly shared photos in which the tsarist Cossacks ate horses from the Lviv fountains.
On holidays Lviv residents dress statues in festive embroidered shirts.
Another fact related to Lviv fountains:
We are talking about the Higer family, a Jewish family that lived in the Lviv sewers for about 14 months during the Nazi occupation of Lviv, which saved them from death. From the memoirs of Ignacy Higer’s daughter, Christina Higer, The Girl in the Green Sweater, screened in 2011, In the Dark (W ciemności), they were able to obtain drinking water from a cracked water pipe in the well of the Neptune Fountain.
These are the glorious fountains of Rynok Square!
Used materials Lviv.Travel