Heraklion Morosini Lions Fountain

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Location: Town

Located in the city center, in the Lions (or Eleftheriou Venizelou) Square, the Morosini Fountain is one of the most distinctive monuments in Heraklion Town.

Handakas, as the town was called in medieval times, always faced water shortages. When a number of attempts to solve this problem failed, the Venetian noble Francesco Morosini decided to construct a 15-kilometer-long aqueduct that would carry water from Mount Juktas to the town. Underneath the fountain, there are seven different levels made of stone, which made it possible for the water to gush from the mouth of each of the four lions that flanked the eight basins. The shape of the fountain was function-oriented, allowing as many as forty people to get water at the same time.

In addition to the lions, the fountain is decorated with Venetian coats of arms, as well as with relief sculptures inspired by mythology and the sea world, including tritons, dolphins and nymphs. Though lions are uncommon in fountains, as they are not linked with water, they were used by the Venetians in this case as a symbol of their power.

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Top Tours and activities

  • Heraklion Bites and Sights 4 Hour Walking Tour

    Category: City, Gastronomy

    Head straight into the heart of Heraklion on this guided walking tour. Wander its back streets, admire its monuments, sample a variety of local delicacies, and learn about the influences that have combined to make Heraklion the city it is today.

    4 hours Map
    from € 97.00
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More about the Morosini Fountain

A very tall statue of Poseidon towered above the lions, which is why the monument was often called "the giant's fountain". Unfortunately, there's no information as to the circumstances under which it was removed or destroyed.

During the Ottoman occupation of Crete, the form of the fountain was completely changed, as marble columns were built around the edge of the basin. These columns were topped by a marble strip that bore a gilded inscription. The relief sculptures were also destroyed, as the holes were opened onto the basins to allow the installation of spigots.

In 1900, however, the fountain was restored to its original design, and the monument now attracts Greek and foreign visitors alike. Bear in mind that its water is not drinkable anymore.



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