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The German Fountain, also referred to as the Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain, is a stunning historical monument situated in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a well-liked relaxing point for tourists who are busy exploring the ancient buildings nearby and wish to take a breather. The fountain is located in Sultanahmet Square, close to the entrances of the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.
The fountain was gifted from Wilhelm II of Germany to the Ottoman Empire in 1900 to honour his trip to Istanbul in 1898. The fountain was built by a group of German workers under the direction of German architect Spitta. It was built in Germany, moved to Istanbul, disassembled, and then put back together. Now, it stands as a stunning piece of architecture, its design and feel reflecting back to the 1800s.
Interesting Facts about the German Fountain
1. The fountain has provided fresh drinking water to visitors and locals from the 1800s to this day.
2. The letter "W" for Wilhelm II, the German Emperor who ordered the fountain, is carved into the design of the German Fountain.
3. The calligraphic seal, or Tughra, of Abdul Hamid II, the Ottoman Empire's Sultan at the time, is also displayed on the fountain.
4. The German inscription on the fountain translates to: "German Kaiser Wilhelm II endowed this fountain, in thankful remembrance of his visit to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II in autumn of the year 1898.”
On his second trip to Turkey, in 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II received a dedication at the German Fountain. Architect Schoele oversaw the fountain's construction while Architect Spitta, the Kaiser's personal architect, sketched out the design. Other architects including the Italian Joseph Antony and the German Carlitzik were also involved in the project.
First, trees were planted in the square to prepare the Hippodrome area. Later, the fountain that had been built in Germany and transported to Istanbul was placed on its base. The fountain was an exquisite work of art made of marble and priceless stones. In order to be completed on September 1, 1900, the 25th anniversary of Sultan Abdulhamit's accession to the throne, its construction started in 1899. However, the opening ceremony took place on January 27, 1901, which was the Kaiser’s birthday.
The Incredible Architectural Wonder
A fountain is a historical and architectural marvel to this day, reflecting the marriage of the different cultures. Its structure is an octagonal shape, rising on a high terrain. The arches that link the columns together are decorated with carved designs to make them stand out and an overhead octagonal dome over a water reservoir is divided into four pieces. The design of the fountain was strongly influenced by German Neo-Renaissance and also holds a resemblance to the traditional Ottoman fountains.
The dome of the fountain is unquestionably its most stunning feature. This green dome is decorated with beautiful mosaics that are painted with gold. The octagonal fountain is supported by a strong base, which also has decorative geometric motifs and colourful stones adorning the platform. There are also marble benches located along the fountain's edges, making for a perfect spot to relax and take in the stunning yet often overlooked architecture.
The German inscription on the fountain goes as:
“Wilhelm II Deutscher Kaiser stiftete diesen Brunnen in dankbarer Erinnerung an seinen Besuch bei Seiner Maiestaet [sic] dem Kaiser der Osmanen Abdul Hamid II im Herbst des Jahres 1898"
Things to Know Before Visiting
- Suggested Tour Duration: 1 hour
- Best Time to Visit: Summer
- There is no entrance fee required to visit the German Fountain
German Fountain Guided Tours
You can visit the German Fountain at any time of day because it never closes. No matter what season you visit Istanbul in, this fountain is a resilient piece of history and architecture standing year-long to welcome visitors from all over the world. Not only does the fountain provide a fresh and clear drink of water on a warm day when you’re tired after a day of exploring, but it also provokes nostalgia for the bygone times and eras.
Get the full tourist experience by exploring the German Fountain by booking iLinkTurkey’s collection of Istanbul Tours now!