Saturday, November 7, 2009

Salzburg cont.: Hellbrunn Trick Fountains

Just a little south of Salzburg is the palace Hellbrunn (Clear Spring), owned by the Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, a fellow with a sense of humor. He installed a set of trick fountains in his gardens so he could soak his guests for laughs. I gotta say, after touring king's castles and archbishops' places, I think by and large the archbishops had a lot more flair and taste and sense of decoration.

"We were a wee bit tardy for the tour. But had Hy been with us, we would have been tardier."

The tour starts at a stone table with stone seats all around it, all of which get thoroughly soaked by some water jets except the head of the table, where the archbishop would have sat. Oddly enough, though, the controls for the fountain are not at the head of the table, but at the side where a lackey would turn it on or off. The table is surrounded by an alcove full of Greekish statues. The archbishop was very keen on Greco/Roman mythology, and there are scenes from it throughout the garden.

"They were fun, and our guide obviously had a good time getting people wet."

He had a nice, mischevious smile on his face most of the time.

"He was kind enough to warn people when they were about to get wet, but there was always water on the ground too."

Water would hit you from deer statues, from water fountains pointing the wrong way, "from above and below," from the sides, from stairs, "through the grates on the ground." You name it.

He had also had them carve an intricate miniatures scene with over 200 figurines, most of which move, all powered by water. "It was an impressive sight." Then there were smaller water-powered tableus along the way, with scenes from mythology.

We can highly recommend the attraction. "I was kind of sad when it was over."

The mask in the center of this picture was one of the archbishop's favorites. Every few seconds, the tongue sticks out and up as the eyes roll back. The archbishop would greet his guests in the same manner.

In the castle, they show you a copy of the mechanism, which is your basic Japanese relaxation fountain. Water pours into a weight, and when enough has pooled, it pulls the levers to move everything else.

Slaying Medusa

More paganism.
A little paganism is a good thing in an archbishop, right?

As always in this tour of Italy, more pictures and videos are available of everything. If you'd like to see more or have a request, post it. We like comments!

1 comment:

Grandma Jule said...

That's pretty impressive stuff.

I'd love to see more of the "water works" in this place.