The Water Art of Wismar
It took some time, but finally my first article for my Wismarblog is ready! I will post more pictures soon. Enjoy yourself while reading!
The most beautiful sight and at the same time the landmark of Wismar is the water art. It stands on the market square, one of the largest in Germany, with 10,000 m². It was built according to the plans of the Utrecht master builder Philipp Brandin.
What’s the „Water art“?
The term “water art” refers to a medieval scoop and pumping station, which was used to secure the water supply of the city, by promoting, raising and guiding water.
The art master was responsible for the water art.
What were the tasks of the water art?
Where a small well sufficed before, a larger one had to produce with growing population number. The water art, built in 1602, was the central water reservoir of Wismar until 1897, and served the city supply, with fresh water.
220 houses and 16 public places were supplied by it with water.
The art of water functioned as a central distribution point, in which the wooden piping system of water merged.
How does the water supply work?
In the first centuries after founding the town, the inhabitants of Wismar supplied themselves with drinking water from simple wells.
From about 1430, water carriers and drivers were deployed, who delivered water when required.
In the 16th century, the task of the Wismar city fathers was to secure the city’s water supply.
This includes not only the supply of drinking water, but also the provision of fire-fighting and operating water, irrigation of trenches, feeding of water mills and garden irrigation. The water requirements of residential and work places had to be covered.
As the population grew, the demand for fresh water rose grew too, which is why water storage, transport and distribution techniques were developed.
In 1563, a wooden fountain was built on the square of Wismar, where water art was built above between 1579 and 1602.
In 1897, the water art stopped with supplying the town with water.
Where does the water come from?
First the waterart was provided by the mill pond (Mühlenteich) of Wismar.
In 1570 the first water was conducted from the Metelsdorfer spring, south of Wismar. Through wooden pipes it flowed into a collecting basin, a wooden fountain in the Old Wismar Street (Altwismarstraße).
From 1602, the water art was served from the Metelsdorfer source.
With the construction of the new water tower, from 1682 the city was supplied by a water mixture of Mühlenteich and Metelsdorfer source.
Water art as a prestige object?
Water arts were built in the Middle Ages at central points of the cities. It was a pleasure for local authorities to place these as a prestige object on the spot. That is why they were designed specially artful. Some landlords saw this as an opportunity to set themselves a monument.
For the citizens were the well water suppliers and a communication center. There was the latest gossip. Whether from their own city or neighboring towns, one could hear and spread the news.
Then we go for
Bernd Herrmann, Christine Dahlke (Hg.): Schauplätze der Umweltgeschichte Werkstattbericht, Graduiertenkolleg 1024 Interdisziplinäre Umweltgeschichte, Universitätsverlag Göttingen 2008, s.195-197.
Friedrich Techen: Die Wismarsche Wasserkunst und Meister Heinrich Dammert. In: Mitteilungen des Vereins für Lübeckische Geschichte und Altertumskunde. 1919, S. 60–67.
Das schöne Detail: Architekturdetails Wismars von der Gotik bis zum 20. Jh. Hg. Vom Rat der Stadt Wismar. Abteilung Kultur. Wismar, 1989. S.34-35.
Siegfried Berndt: Von Wismars Wasserkünsten. In: Wismarer Beiträge; Heft 8. Hanse Druck, Wismar, 1992, S. 5-11.