One of the first concerns of the Venetian leadership was the supply of water to the thirsty city of Chandakas, which was lacking in spring water. This was accomplished with the construction of cisterns and wells, public and private ones. Various fountains of the period are preserved with an elaborate decoration ornamenting the old city of Heraklion.
Made by “capitano” Gianmatteo Bembo between 1552-1554, it dominates in today’s Kornarou square, next to a later Turkish philanthropic fountain. It is decorated with coats of arms and other elements of the renaissance and of gothic type, while in the middle a big headless statue stands out of the roman period. The spring is ornated with floral and embossed elements.
Made by Giovanni Sagredo between 1602-1604, part of it has been built in the Northwest corner of today’s Loggia (Town Hall) and it is decorated with a carved female statue which according to Gerola’s description probably with the left hand she was holding a shield, while with the right one a kind of a big hammer for display, representing the personification of Crete.
(The so called Lion’s fountain). One of the most known fountains of Heraklion, point of reference for its inhabitants, but also for the visitors. Today it is one of the most beautiful monuments of the city. The «General Provisioner» Francesco Morosini made it in 1628, who, within a complicated for that period, system of pipes he managed to bring water from the Archanes’ springs to the thirsty town of Heraklion. The eight-lobe cistern, which is based on a special stand, is decorated with embossed mythological depictions and maritime figures like tritons, dolphins and various coats of arms, while the water was flowing from the mouths of four lions. At the very top of the fountain there was a supernatural statue of Poseidon that was standing out but fell probably due to an earthquake. During the Turkish period the fountain went into a vulgar modulation with the addition of a baldachin (ciborium) around it which was later taken away. Morosini, on the occasion of the inauguration coined a special medal with his figure from one side and the fountain on the other.
The «General Provisioner» Antonio Priuli made it in 1666 and it is situated today behind the “Bodosakeio” Primary School (in the area of the Venetian Dermata Gate). He decorated it with round and square columns with Corinthian type capitals, while a triangular pediment crowns the whole construction. From both sides of the columns there are niches with their metopes elaborately decorated. In the middle of the fountain there is a Turkish inscription where there is a reference to the name of the Turkish pasha who managed to bring water again in the fountain.
The Turks, as well as the Greeks, felt very strongly the need for finding water in order to quench the citizens’ thirst and the people’s of the suburbs, but also to cover their religious demands. A lot of philanthropic fountains (sebil) were built during this period in squares, while other simpler ones were erected in various streets in the centre of the town and in different neighbourhoods. Quite a few of them are still being seen today, preserved in good condition, and decorating several parts of the city.
Philanthropic fountain of Kornarou square
It was built in 1776 by Hadji Ibrahim aga. In order to keep it working, he dedicated almost all his property. It is unique in its kind that is still preserved today. It is of a circular type building with a “tholos” and around the walls there are semi-circular windows with rails, in front of each one of them there exist a tap with a stone basin for the water to be collected. Today it is used as a coffeehouse.
It was built in the end of the 17th century. Today it is found behind the Historical Museum of the city. It is decorated with two columns with floral capitals, while in between them and inside an arched construction there is a marble plaque with relief decoration. The water was running from a specially made hole at the bottom of the plaque, into a marble basin.
The Chaniali fountain
Today it is situated next to the external Gate of St. George, underneath the statue of Eleutherios Venizelos. Within an arched construction, which its top is decorated with floral elements, there is a plaque and the spout is within a relief decorated frame. The water was collected in a marble basin of a similar decoration.
Genitsar aga’s fountain
Today it is situated in the Ikarou Avenue, next to the Epigraphic Collection of Heraklion Museum. Within an arched construction which, is surrounded by two big square columns, decorated with rosettes, there is a relief spout of fine workmanship.