The fountain complex in the Alexander Garden is one of the most famous and visited Moscow fountains, located at the edge of the garden along Manezhnaya Square.
The complex includes a number of large and small-scale fountains: “Geyser”, “Neglinnaya River”, “Veil”, “Snail”, “Waterfall”, “Grotto”, which are united by a common concept and are decorated with sculptures by Zurab Tsereteli. Around the fountains, there is a walking area with viewing platforms.
The fountains appeared in the Alexander Garden in 1996 during the reconstruction of Manezhnaya Square and the construction of the Okhotny Ryad underground shopping center. Having become one of the symbols of the “new Russian” capitalist Moscow and the “Luzhkov style”, they have been criticized more than once: many townspeople consider them tasteless kitsch, vulgarity and a vulgar parody of the classics, but at the same time, over the years of their work, the fountains of the Alexander Garden have become one of the most popular city attractions.
“The Neglinnaya River” and the sculptural composition “Heroes of Fairy Tales”
The largest and most significant fountain of the complex is the “Neglinaya River” fountain – in fact, it is a real artificial reservoir, imitating, according to the authors’ idea, the bed of the Neglinnaya River, which in the past flowed through the territory of the modern Alexander Garden.
The shallow winding canal really resembles the bed of a small river: there are even bridges thrown across it, and viewing platforms with a solemn marble parapet are arranged along the “banks”. The bottom of the bowl is lined with colored mosaics depicting fish and the flow of water. The main decoration of the fountain is the sculptural composition “Heroes of Fairy Tales”: in the middle of the water surface along the entire length of the bowl there are figures of fairytale characters and animals, among which the old man and the Goldfish, the Firebird, Sister Alyonushka, Ivan Tsarevich and the Frog Princess, the fox are easily recognizable and crane, wolf and bear, mermaid, Swan princess and duck with ducklings.
The sculptures were made by Zurab Tsereteli.
It is curious that after the discovery of the “Neglinnaya River” information appeared in a number of guidebooks that it was a real section of the river, brought out of an underground collector to the surface. Of course, this is completely fiction – the most ordinary tap water flows through the fountain (and from both ends to the center), which has nothing to do with Neglinka.
In the past, in hot weather, a lot of people always bathed in the fountain, however, for some time now they began to follow this, and in our time this usually does not happen.
“Geyser” and sculpture “Seasons”
The second large fountain in the complex is Geyser, located closer to the Manege building. Its jets, as the name implies, imitate the release of water from a geyser and strike strictly vertically.
The fountain has its own bowl, which is decorated with the sculpture “The Seasons”, depicting four frolicking horses that symbolize the seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. The sculpture was made by Zurab Tsereteli and, although it was repeatedly criticized, managed to become one of the local symbols of the city.
To some extent, the “Geyser” can be considered the main city fountain: every year it is from it that the launch of Moscow fountains begins after the winter “hibernation”. As a rule, the ceremony takes place on April 30th.
“Veil”, “Waterfall”, “Snail”, “Grotto”
In addition to large fountains – “Rivers Neglinnaya” and “Geysers” – the complex includes a number of small fountains, which are usually perceived as part of large ones. By and large, it is.
“The Veil” (“Canopy”) is a fountain of two dozen jets that gush behind the “Geyser” bowl and form a water corridor along it from the Manezh side. It becomes especially popular during the summer heat: walking along the corridor of water jets is liked by both adults and children. On the retaining wall, from which the “Veil” jets are beating, water pours – this is the “Waterfall” fountain.
The Grotto and Snail fountains are located at opposite ends of the Neglinnaya River bowl. The grotto is located on the side of the Moskva hotel and is decorated with a sculpture of a mermaid by Zurab Tsereteli; it is continued by a stepped cascade, along which water enters the “channel”. The “Snail” is located on the side of the “Geyser” and the Manezh building and is a decorative imitation of a waterfall in the form of a small but dashingly swirling cascade – hence the name.
In general, small fountains complement the larger ones and serve to add variety to the complex.
To date, the fountain complex in the Alexander Garden is not very popular among the townspeople, however, it is very popular with tourists who visit the Kremlin and Red Square and do not deny themselves a walk in the garden. One way or another, he deservedly acquired the fame of one of the main fountains in Moscow.
It is interesting to gaze at it not only during the day, but also in the evening: in the dark, the sculptures are illuminated.
The fountain complex in the Alexander Garden is located at the edge of the garden and is adjacent to the underground shopping center Okhotny Ryad. You can get to it on foot from the Okhotny Ryad and Biblioteka imeni Lenin metro stations of the Sokolnicheskaya line, as well as from the Aleksandrovsky Sad of Filyovskaya.