While today we see outdoor fountains as beautiful decorations or adornments for a garden or park, their history actually shows that they once served far more practical purposes. The original fountains, such as those built in ancient Rome were created to connect to springs and aqueducts to provide drinking and bathing water for the people who lived in the area.
Outdoor water fountains have been used for these purposes for many centuries. Fountains were often constructed to provide horses and other animals with drinking water as well. The idea of the fountain as a purely artistic piece also originated in Ancient Rome, but the majority of fountains at the time were, in fact, designed to serve a practical purpose.
In today’s world, fountains are largely considered decorative, yet many buildings and institutions still use fountains for the purpose of providing drinking water. Zoos and other places also use fountains to provide fresh drinking and bathing water for many animals. The circulation of the water prevents stagnation and keeps water fresh and healthy for animals.
In many parts of the world, fountains are still used to provide drinking and bathing water for people as well. While most developed nations utilize indoor plumbing and other such technologies, there are numerous undeveloped nations who still rely on these outdoor fountains as a primary source of water.
In cultures such as Ancient Rome and Greece, fountains were both practical and artistic. While water was brought down from the mountains using aqueducts and was provided for bathing and drinking through fountains, the water was often delivered from spouts that were embedded in the heads of lions or other artistic features. The ancient Romans also created fountains that siphoned water up through pipes that ran along the streets so that basins could be placed at certain intervals to provide people and animals with easy access to water. There were nearly 40 monumental fountains and almost 600 public basins in Ancient Rome, excluding the water supply for the Imperial household. The technological marvel of this becomes even more apparent when learning that all of the fountains were connected to two aqueducts in order to ensure that there was always water available.
The history of the fountain is certainly a unique one from both a practical and artistic standpoint. Outdoor water fountains dating back many centuries still stand among the most remarkable pieces of art in the world. To understand that these fountains were once rather practical and served the drinking and bathing needs of the people of those times certainly serves to make them even more wondrous.