Ah, the fish fountain with the fat fish on top. It is a great place to meet your friends and giggle over its past. The original fountain was destroyed during WWII. The people of Munich loved it so and cried many tears over its demise. It was rebuilt after the war, and it continues to be a Munich oddity.
It is located near Neues Rathaus in Marianplatz. It is just a fountain until you hear the story; all you pervs are going to flock to see it, that and seafood lovers. I saw it for the pervy reasons, my stepmom the seafood.
Back in the 1300s, the fish fountain was the hot spot in the market to buy your fish. Henry the Lion made a ruling that on Friday, all fish was half off so the place was packed. All the fishmongers would store their fish in the fountain to keep them fresh. They had a hell of a time catching the ones that were still alive when they were tossed in there. Now the fun part, every other Sunday it was seafood Sunday. All the salt from the Salzburg mines passed through Munich, and a few buckets were tossed in the fountain to make it saltwater for the fish. The fresh seafood market was hopping due to the close proximity to the ocean. All the fresh seafood caught that day was turned loose in the fountain until sold. Dead or alive, fish in the fountain cannot be all that sanitary, especially since it was where they got their water for the day. The local cats liked it a lot though and the water made great stock for fish soup.
Once a year, the fish were kicked out, and the local butcher college took over. It was a small college only graduating a dozen or so a year. The tradition was to take those graduates to the fountain. They were dressed up in sheepskin loincloths and tied a calf’s penis around their necks. Why calf? Have you seen the size of a bull’s dick? The boys would have drowned. Anyway, the professors spun them around until they got dizzy then tossed them in the water. Ok, who came up with this idea? See what I mean about pervy? Calf wieners…haha. These people were weird.
Today the fountain still has a purpose other than making school girls and chubby old ladies giggle. On Ash Wednesday the Lord Mayor washes his purse out by dipping it into the fish water. It is a symbolic gesture to ensure the city coffers will be full in the coming year. He then goes into his office and signs new tax bills. We just bury a dollar on New Year’s Eve here in the States. Easy peasy way to ensure your financial success for the next year.