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Justitia is back - fountain season starts on Römerberg

03.06.2020 | 17:24 Clock | Favorite places
Justitia is back - fountain season starts on Römerberg

For many months, Frankfurt residents and tourists had to do without one of the city's most popular photo motifs. After the pipes in the figure were damaged by acid last year, the Justitia had to be restored at great expense. Now, however, the Fountain of Justice on the Römerberg is complete again. And so, on Tuesday, June 2, Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann and Head of the Department of Culture Ina Hartwig were able to open the 2020 fountain season in a befitting manner. Other fountains in the city will follow in the coming days and bubble up again.

The start of the fountain season is a popular event in Frankfurt every year, as it heralds the start of summer in the city. But this year it is really something special. Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann knows this too, who remarked: "The people of Frankfurt have missed their Justitia, so I am all the more delighted that she is now, at last, back. She is known far beyond the borders of our home city and is a very popular photo motif. The Justitia simply belongs on our Römerberg," said Feldmann. "Worldwide, the Fountain of Justice is one of the few fountains dedicated to the Goddess of Justice. A remarkable detail of Frankfurt's Justitia is the absence of the usual blindfold."

Cultural Affairs Director Hartwig added: "Together with the Justitia, the ornate wrought-iron decorative lattice can also be seen again in its full glory. This completes all the work around the fountain, which was carried out in close coordination with the city's Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. I would like to thank the ‚Friends of Frankfurt' association very much for their support in the restoration of our landmark. For more than 90 years, they have championed cultural heritage in our city and we are grateful that they are helping to preserve significant monuments in the city."

"With our initiative to restore the Justitia Fountain and by assuming the resulting costs, the Friends of Frankfurt wanted to save an important, endangered work of art - and at the same time remind us that the fountain has promised justice to citizens for over 400 years," explains Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Chairman of the Board of the Friends of Frankfurt.

The work on the steps of the fountain was recently completed and 16 square bollards made of sandstone were installed around the fountain in coordination with the city's Office of Historical Monuments. They are intended to protect the fountain from shunting delivery traffic and also serve as seating for visitors to the Römerberg. From now on, they can watch the Justitia spouting water again.

Due to the Corona pandemic and the associated restrictions, the start of the fountain season had to be postponed from April to May. For the start-up, there was a green light from the responsible health department of the city of Frankfurt, since the virus is not transmissible through the water and the wells are chlorinated. For safety reasons, however, the distance regulations should also be observed at the fountains and a face mask should be worn. Bathing is generally prohibited, even before the pandemic turned public life upside down.

The Justitia - More than just a popular photo hotspot

The Frankfurt Justitia looks back on an eventful history. In 1543, Frankfurt's first tube/spring fountain was erected on the Römerberg. The sandstone parapet is still partly from the year of construction 1542.

In 1610, the fountain was redesigned and received its current appearance: a stone fountain with a Justitia. Two years later, red and white wine flowed from specially attached eagle and lion heads for the coronation of Emperor Matthias. In their enthusiasm for serving wine, the people of Frankfurt so battered the fountain that the city's magistrate had an additional fountain erected as a wine dispenser for the coronation of Emperor Ferdinand II in 1619.

In 1863, the Fountain of Justice was in such a desolate state that it disappeared under cascades of flowers for the German Princes' Day, and later it was hidden under a wooden booth. The Justitia was robbed of its scales more than once, and in 1874 it was itself so battered that it was removed. In 1887 a donation from the wine merchant Gustav Dominikus Manskopf made it possible to renew the figure. The ornamental grille with the gilded city eagles, which still exists today, was made by Alexander Linnemann in 1887.

The fountain and the figure were largely spared from the bombardment of the Second World War. From 1945 to 1947, the Justitia stood in the rooms of the military government, which resided in the building of the metal company on Reuterweg. In 1970, however, it moved again - due to the construction of the subway and the underground parking garage, the ensemble was dismantled and rebuilt after the completion of the work only a few meters offset from its original location.

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