Sunday, October 25, 2009

Muristan Fountain

Click to enlarge
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The Muristan Fountain, in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, is a strange sight. Plunked down smack dab in the midst of a colorful and crowded Old City Market it doesn't look like it quite belongs - not among the market stalls, and even less to itself. With each of the fountain's elements in a different, competing style (or as my Yiddish-speaking grandmother would have called it "ungapatchka'd") none of which give any credence at all to a understanding of proportion, it looks, to my eye, like nothing more than a set of children's toys set down and forgotten mid-play by some long-gone giant child, especially when viewed from the vantage point of the delightful rooftop cafe above, where this photo was taken.
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The fountain is not listed in many guidebooks, mine included, but I finally found it online as a stop on an Old City walking tour (click on the word fountain or scroll down about two-thirds of the way). According to that website:
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"A grand fountain (and here I have to question the use of the word grand - tall, perhaps, but to my way of thinking it's hardly the Trevi Fountain of Rome, and that center piece looks remarkably like an oversized candlestick that my mother-in-law had) was designed in the center of the market, honoring the Sultan Abed al-Hamid II (1876–1909) [on his] reign of 25 years. It was constructed in 1903 in the newly designed market."
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though, and while I have trouble locating this one's beauty I'm sure someone else finds it utterly enchanting.
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Visit Monochrome Weekly for more black and white images.
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18 comments:

Sylvia said...

Very nice. There's a lot of them in my country too.

moneythoughts said...

It looks like something that was constructed with objects that were available and simply were put together to form a larger piece. No, it is not a great piece as fountain go. You want to see a beautiful fountain? Come to Cincinnati and take a look at the fountain on Fountain Square.

Leora said...

ungapatchka'd - great word, now I know how to spell it.

I like the fountain across from the King's Hotel myself.

Learned about Abdul Hamid II as I am working on putting a History of Zionism course online - last of the Ottoman emperors.

Carver said...

I know what you mean. The fountain does look like it's part of a group of toys. I wonder what it would look like if it were seen alone.

Auntie E said...

No, it is not like the Trevi fountain in Rome .That I have seen. I guess because it has all those pillars around it, they consider it a type. Fountain were very big in the old days. I love a working fountain.

Kilauea Poetry said...

Interesting subject here, besides that fact that you took a nice photo with the water flowing- I enjoyed your post and the mono is excellent!

quilly said...

When I saw the photo, I thought you'd taken it in a statuary lot and were showing an assortment of decorations. Then I read your post and went back to study the photo. It still looks as though you took it in a statuary lot .....

Very interesting post. I love learning about the oddities of different places.

michael bird said...

Thought of a giant chess set on first view - rooks and bishops. Does seem like an odd assortment of stuff for a fountain.

Clueless in Boston said...

The unenlarged photo taken from your vantage point does look like a toy. It does look rather small to be called a "grand" fountain, but I think all fountains are grand in their own way; maybe it's a water thing with me.

kaye said...

oh it is much bigger in the enlarged picture. At first I thought it was a garden shop that sold fountains. I do like the black and white. It would be interesting to know if each part of the fountain has a different color of stone, or if it is all the same.

In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

It is an odd design for a fountain - but it makes a graphically interesting black and white photograph!

http://threeriversdailyphoto.blogspot.com

Dagrun said...

Reminds me of a chess toy yes. Nice b&wh shot.

Aileni said...

I wonder what the Sultan would think.

Mojo said...

If I had to guess, I'd say it was designed by a committee. A very contentious committee. It makes an interesting photograph, but... I'm with you on this one.

Liz said...

That is so unusual. It took me a while to work out what was part of the statue and what wasn't. Well done on persevereing and finding it!

Daryl said...

Ungapatchka'd! Mom always used this too ... thanks for the memory .. and that photo ... super!

Calico Crazy said...

A very eclectic and unique fountain, I'm not surprised it doesn't make the guide books.

Calico Contemplations

Dina said...

Ah, so it is modern. That explains the ugliness.
Shot from a cafe? I wondered how you got that angle. Thanks for a new perspective.

Nice to see you again after my 2 weeks down in Tiberias, Robin.