This imposing 1600s Venetian fountain with 4 water-gushing lions is located in a bustling, cafeterias & shops-lined square.
Locals refer to it as the Lion’s Fountain (in Greek Liontaria), while the monument’s official name is Fontana Morosini, located at the (now called) Eleftheriou Venizelou Square. This central part of a pedestrianised spot in Heraklion is setting an all day rendez-vous point in the city.
This Heraklion landmark was commissioned in 1628 by the Venetian governor Francesco Morosini and intended to improve the city’s water supply. At the same time the square was intended to be a replica of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, therefore the supporting lions and mythological scenes decorating it. Beside the fountain are glass slabs beneath which the remains of the medieval water pipes can be seen.
Heraklion used to have problems with water shortage and the fountain’s main purpose was to transfer water from Youchtas mountain. When it was built, it provided 1000 barrels of water every day.
The fountain was inaugurated the 25th of Apri 1628, day of Saint Mark’s feast (patron saint of Venice).
The lions depicted were the symbols of Venice and one can also admire other mythological representations.
There used to be a statue of god Poseidon in the center of the fountain, but it is lost, most probably was destroyed by an earthquake.
At a glance:
- It is never quiet at Lions’ Square. It is a great meeting point and you can find a bougatsa cream pie even a little before the waking of the day.
- The Fontana Morosini is named after the Francesco Morosini, Crete’s Italian governor at the time.
- The purpose of the construction was to bring water from Archanes Village (Youchtas Mountain) to the thirsty Heraklion city.
- At the top of the fountain there was standing a marble Poseidon statue, holding his trident. Unfortunately this statue is now lost, probably destroyed.
With information from Explore Crete
Find Morosini Fountain on Google Map
Read some visitors’ reviews from TripAdvisor
Myddie from London – 31 August 2017
On a hot day the sound of the water in this elegant fountain was a cooling delight – it’s worth walking past and stopping for a photo.
Penarth, United Kingdom 28 August 2017
Set in area surrounded by food places
Lively fountain set in centre of Heriklion surrounded by food outlets. Would miss it if not looking fot it specifically
By Eric Herron
The Lions Fountain is in Cerner Square in Heraklion, and finding parking can be a little challenging on one of the >surrounding streets. It’s fun at night with many street musicians. Beautiful City view of new and old architecture. Lots >of shops and restaurants. Fun for the evening!
By Andrew Willcox
Such a lovely place to sit and relax, or sit and eat. Especially in the sun, which is likely in Crete. This is a lovely part of a >lovely city.
A very busy and alive square with an excellent monument characteristic of the Venetian Architecture. Loads of places >to sit for a quick coffe. Must try to sit for a bougatsa at philosophies and admire the square.
By Saji Prelis
Great place to relax, people watch and enjoy also enjoy the birds (doves) bathing in this ancient and historic water fountain.