Old water art

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Old water art
The old water art

The old water art

place Bautzen , Saxony
builder Wenzel Röhrscheid the Elder Ä.
Construction year 1495/1558
height 47 m
Floor space 210 m²
Coordinates 51 ° 10 '50.4 "  N , 14 ° 25' 14.3"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 10 '50.4 "  N , 14 ° 25' 14.3"  E

The old water art , in Sorbian Stara wodarnja ? / i , in the city of Bautzen there was a water supply system for the city. Audio file / audio sample

The building is on the edge of the old town near the Mühltor . It is located on the Spree and is a striking eye-catcher for visitors to Bautzen who drive over the Friedensbrücke into the city. The old water art, together with the Michaeliskirche next to it, is a landmark of the city of Bautzen.


On the site of a wooden porch from 1495/96, which burned down in the winter of 1515, the old water art in its current form was built in 1558 by Wenzel Röhrscheidt the Elder. This water art was used to supply the city with drinking water from the Spree. In 1597 a second pumping station was installed to cover the increasing demand for water. In 1606 , the construction of the New Water Art began for the same reason . From 1798 the rotten wooden pipes were replaced by iron pipes from Lauchhammer .

The stone, seven-story, 47 m high round tower tapering towards the top also served as part of the city fortifications. For this reason, a battlement is attached to its lower part. The tower's helmet, which was placed eccentrically towards the city, made it possible to gain space for setting up guns.

The attached nave originally served as the water master's apartment .

In 1965 the water art was shut down and now serves as a technical museum . In the place of the original water wheel there is now a water turbine , with the help of which electricity is generated on a smaller scale by the hydropower of the Spree.

In 1982/84 and 2006/07 the old water art was extensively restored. The listed building can be visited today and, in addition to the machine house, also offers a viewing platform , which can be reached from the basement via 184 steps and offers a very good view of the roofs of Bautzen and the Lusatian mountains .

Mode of action

In order to be able to direct the water to the meat market in front of the Petridom - the highest point in the city - the collecting tank in the upper part of the water art had to be higher than this. The water from the Spree, dammed by a weir below the water art, drove a water wheel; this in turn moved a pump system, which initially pumped water from the river and later also from sources close to the city in the tower. The collecting container was about 224 m above sea level, i.e. about 5 m higher than the meat market fountain. This enabled the water to be directed by gravity through a system of communicating pipes to each of the water troughs distributed throughout the city.


The ensemble of water art and Michaeliskirche

According to legend, when the first wooden structure was inaugurated, it was recognized that no water was flowing from the pipes at the meat market. This was inexplicable to the designer - a monk in the legend - and, fearing the wrath of the city council, he fled to the Drohmberg ( Traumberg ) south of Bautzen . There he dreamed that there was a frog in the tubes of the water art. He returned to the city, looked for and found the animal so that the water could flow unhindered from now on. According to another version, a rat was stuck in the tubes of water art. It is doubtful whether these legends have a real historical background. The irregular water pumping in the first few weeks can probably be attributed to air pockets in the pipe system.

Sources and Notes

  1. To Bautzen and Schirgiswalde (= values ​​of the German homeland . Volume 12). 1st edition. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1967, p. 60.
  2. A short history of the old water art on the website of the old water art in Bautzen
  3. a b The Tromberg and the Budissiner Wasserkunst , Bautzener Sagen, Verlag Johannes Vieweg, Leipzig 24, page 8.

Web links

Commons : Alte Wasserkunst  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files