Written by Brian Johnston
People everywhere are entranced by water, nowhere better harnessed than in public fountains, which might be urban monuments, a source of entertainment, or simply a delight to the eye.
Jet d’Eau, Geneva
There’s nothing elaborate about this fountain, whose name simply means ‘water jet’ and which began life as a release valve for a hydraulic power station. Yet this simple waterspout has become the symbol of Geneva, thanks to its elegant outline and 140m height, all the more visible in a city of low-rise buildings. Seven tons of water are aloft at any one time to create the spectacle. The fountain’s location on the lake’s edge, surrounded by promenades and nearby manicured parks, makes the area the perfect destination for a stroll.
Distance: 4,629 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes
Crown Fountain, Chicago
A blend of water and light makes for this most amusing of fountains in Millennium Park, which is also something of an art installation. Two glass towers project LED images of the faces of ordinary Chicago residents, who pout their lips and shoot streams of water out into the black granite reflecting pool below. Interactivity is encouraged; many residents (and not just children) enjoy wading in the pool and dodging the fountain’s cheeky spits of water.
Distance: 11,473 km
Flight Time: 14 hour, 35 minutes
King Fahd’s Fountain, Jeddah
Modelled on Geneva’s fountain and soaring over the Jeddah coastline – and unusual for using seawater – this is surely the world’s most spectacular waterspout. The 1980s creation is the world’s tallest fountain, soaring to 260m, higher than the Eiffel Tower; the height is the result of water thrust upwards at 375kph. The fountain is particularly wonderful at night, when it is illuminated.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Distance: 1,330 km
Flight Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Frequency: 28 flights a week
Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, Seoul
Water spouting from a bridge into the river below is multiplied to splendid effect in this fountain, which has 380 jets strung out over the bridge’s 1,140m length, and which is illuminated at night in multiple colours. The waterspouts are synchronised with music in the evenings for a 20-minute display that can be seen four to six times daily.
Seoul, South Korea
Distance: 7,116 km
Flight Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Trevi Fountain, Rome
This most iconic of fountains, as large and elaborate as a building, recently emerged from renovation and has been returned to its gleaming, 16th-century baroque splendour, topped by a statue of the Roman god of the sea Neptune, grandly riding a chariot. It has featured in many a classic movie, including Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita, while the 1954 comedy Three Coins in the Fountain perpetuated the legend that you can ensure a return to Rome by throwing coins into the water. Many do; the thousands of euros collected each day go to charity.
Distance: 4,020 km
Flight Time: 6 hours
Frequency: 2 flights a day