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Fountain of the Virtues

Created with a love of detail: One of the most beautiful fountains in Nuremberg

For the start of a stroll through the city, “in front of St. Lawrence” is a popular meeting point for many from Nuremberg. One likes to wait here for friends. Doing so, one often notices the fountain that is located directly on the northwest side of St. Lawrence. 

If you take a closer look, you’ll notice the many delicate figures and symbols which appear again and again behind and through the small spurts of water. This “Fountain of the Virtues” is an outstanding example of the centuries-old Nuremberg tradition of bronze casting and is one of the most beautiful fountains in the city. 

This wonderful work of the late Renaissance, created from 1584 to 1589 by Benedikt Wurzelbauer, stands on the site of the cemetery which was once located on today’s St. Lawrence Square. Fed by its own waterwork, the fountain supplied citizens of the Lawrence side of Nuremberg with water until a central water supply was provided. 

The fountain displays the seven medieval virtues in female form. Faithis symbolized by a cross and chalice, Love by two children, Hope by an anchor, Courage by a lion, Temperance by a pitcher and Patience by a lamb. Above them, six putti carry the two coat-of-arms of the city of Nuremberg. 

The seventh virtue, Justice, stands at the top with blindfolded eyes, sword and scales in her hands and a crane as a symbol of vigilance at her feet. From the vessels of the personification of the virtues, the pipes in the pedestal, the trombones of the boys, the breasts of the virginal figures and the beak of the crane gush fine streams of water, which surround the artwork like a curtain.

Then as now, the Fountain of the Virtues is a real eye-catcher on the square in front of St. Lawrence and worth a detour!