Fountain of Union: Slovakia’s largest fountain is a relic of its Soviet past.
At the center of a city square in Bratislava there is a big relic of the Soviet era. It’s called the “Fountain of Union”, or “Druzba” and it’s the Slovakia’s biggest fountain. The fountain was built between 1979 and 1980, by sculptors Juraj Hovorka, Tibor Bártfay, Karol Lacko and architects Virgil Droppa and Juraj Hlavica, and it was designed so that water would flow from an underground tunnel before bursting into the air, creating a really impressive spectacle. It is made out of stainless steel and its core represents a linden flower, a sacred plant in Slavic mythology. Before the revolution the square was officially known as the Gottwald Square (with a gigantic statue of Klement Gottwald, which now was removed), but the old town people used to call it Firšnál.
But things aren’t quite right with the enormous fountain, Fontána Družby in Slovak: after the fall of the Soviet Union it stopped being maintained, so water seep into and damage its underground control spaces. The water stopped flowing in 2007, and the fountain has been dry ever since. It’s sad, but it has been estimated that repairing the fountain would cost one million euros. However, even if water no longer flows from its depth, the fountain is still an attraction, and It’s as if the fountain has been transformed into a stagnant sculpture: an enormous piece of art that speaks about the city’s Soviet past.