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Santiago, Chile's 'German Fountain'


In the 19th century, Germany became one of Chile's biggest trading partners, and sizable communities of German immigrants and merchants developed in Santiago and Valparaiso.


As part of the run-up to Chile's independence centenary, the Santiago German community commissioned this huge monumental and allegorical fountain for installation in Forestal Park, near the center of the capital.


The statue group, by German sculptor Gustav Eberlein, is packed with symbolism. So much it's amazing the boat (representing the nation of Chile) can stay afloat on its stone and bronze sea.


Among the items represented are a young man with outstretched arms (Chile's progress); the Roman god Mercury steering the boat over the Andes, the Roman goddess of victory, with a wreath for the victory of freedom; a mestizo miner representing effort and struggle, a Creole woman to symbolize fortune and beauty; seals, crabs, lobsters and fish showing the bountiful sea; Neptune the sea god, and perhaps a few more symbols I haven't seen explained.


The fountain's life has not been without travails of its own; it's needed repair and restoration several times. Most recently, in 1997, the remaining German community had it restored on the 150th anniversary of German immigration to Chile, and in 2011, the city had it restored again for Chile's Bicentennial.



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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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