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Fountain "The Kissing students"

Location: N58° 22` 48.3", E26° 43` 19.9"

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The Kissing Students' fountain is situated at Raekoja Square in Tartu. It was designed by a sculptor Mati Karmin and an architect Tiit Trummal. The fountain was unveiled on 1st September 1998.  

There has been a fountain already since 1948, when it was constructed downright overnight according to a design of the mayor. Before that, a bronze well cap with the image of the town's coat of arms had been at the same place on the pavement, marking the centre of Tartu. The fountain from the Soviet times was simple: almost 7 metres in diameter and 75 cm deep. In the centre of the fountain there was a pile of stones and a water pipe. The fountain was popular among townspeople. During the years of 1970 – 1980, when it was still allowed to drive a car at Raekoja Square, numerous wedding rides circled around the fountain and disturbed the work of the town council with their honking, so the police were asked to keep order at the square. People also used the fountain for bathing, which have developed into a tradition for students.  

The design of the current fountain was chosen from among 35 drafts sent to the contest. The fountain weighs 40 tons in total and it cost 90,000 euros to establish.  

The fountain has two pools. The bottom pool is a permanent reservoir. There are three water circles between two pools: the first, the 'umbrella circle', where the water is led to the umbrella ribs; the second, the 'circle of domes' where the water erupts from four domes located at the edge of the fountain, and the third, the circle consisting of ten nozzles beneath the sculpture. The fourth circle is indirectly formed by water which flows over the edge of the upper pool into the lower one. The last circle together with the lights create a spectacular water curtain around the figures of kissing students. The water circles are activated by three electric pumps. There are 7,500 l of water in the fountain at once. When the level of water falls, the valves open and add necessary amount of water. When the rain causes flood, the water will be led to the sewerage. Since 2006 the fountain has been surrounded by tiles bearing the names of Tartu's sister cities. They are situated in the direction that the cities lie from Tartu, marking the distances.  

Every year on 30th April at 5.30 p. m. a student-girl kissing in the fountain will have a white-red-green wreath on her head to wear it at Walpurgis Night. By that time a parade of students has reached the town hall and they wait for the speech of the mayor to pass over the power. Before the speech, a member of the university's sorority climbs up to the statue and puts a wreath there. This has happened over 15 years already, when Tartu Student Days begin.