Operation Neptune – 14th April 2012

Here is a short film – I recorded today, 14th Aptil, at 14:15.

It shows how the figure of Neptune returned back where it belongs – to the heart of Gdansk, to the Long Market.

Last year (as far as I rememebr it was September) the figure was taken away for renovation. It was time enough. The figure was  renovated only once after the war (after WW II), so after some decades it needed some “attention”. The fountain also needed renovation, as it was in a very bad condition. So a great amount of work was done in a relatively short time. Because the aim was to give back the God of the Oceans and Seas before the summer season.

The ceremony itself would have been better – if not for that irritating, yelling voice of the speaker… but well, we can’t have everything 😉

The most important is the fact, that Gdansk has its symbol back.

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The Neptune Fountain has been a symbol of Gdansk for more than 370 years now. It is situated right outside the Artus Court, and since 1633 symbolizes the wealth of the city – deriving from the nearness of the sea.

The idea of having a fountain with the Sea God came from one of the mayors of the city – Barthlomeo Schachmann.

The Statue of Neptune was cast in bronze in 1615. And it was done by Gerdt Benning, bell maker, active in Gdansk in the 17th century. The designer of the fountain as a whole was Abraham van den Blocke, a Mennonite settled in Gdansk, together with his brothers and father. The wrought iron fence around the fountain was made in 1634. Between 1757 and 1761 the basin and the base of the fountain were redecorated. A number of sea creatures was added.

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There is a saying that a city without legends is a dead city… Gdańsk is definitely a vivacious city then, as it has a lots of legends. And one of them is concerning the fountain, and here is how it goes:

The citizens used to throw coins into the fountain, for luck for good life, for happiness… Neptune liked this idea very much, and one night he decided to reward the citizens. He hit the water in the basin with his trident. The following morning – the mayor of the town – leaned out from the window of the town hall. He saw, that the water flowing from the basin through the holes glitters in the morning sun. He ran downstairs and to the fountain. He tried the water. And to his amazement it was Goldwasser. Pure and tasty.

When the citizens heard about that – they all wanted to taste it. And soon there were crowds of people “glued” to the holes of the basin… The mayor, greedy as he was, decided to place an iron fence around the fountain to prevent people from benefitting from the free beverage.

This made Neptune very angry. In the night he once again hit the basin with his trident. And the next morning, there was water again flowing from the holes… If not for the hangover of some of the citizens, nobody would have believed there has been Goldwasser the previous day…

Some men, you might meet in the Long Market – still are having the hangover, so who knows, maybe there is a bit of truth in this legend 😉

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Here are some pictures of the fountain before the restoration. It is and always was a photogenic spot.

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