Nymph of Palais Royal

Odessans are well aware of the fountain with a sculpture of a nymph, which is located in a cozy square of the Palais Royal next to the Odessa Opera House.

The fountain appeared a little more than a century and a half ago – in 1847. At that time, in the public garden, which the citizens of Odessa called the Palais Royal, there were shopping arcades. They were called differently – some “red” shops, some Gostiny Dvor. But regardless of the name, this place was intended for shopping of the citizens of Odessa. The prices here were considerable, so an exceptionally wealthy audience was found here.

Fountain “Nymph”. Postcard early. XX century. The first version of the fountain. This photo clearly shows the old fence around the fountain

In the center of the Palais Royal, a public garden was laid out and benches were installed, where one could take a break from the “overwhelming shopping”. According to the legend, the idea to install a fountain here came from the wife of the Odessa Governor-General Elizaveta Vorontsova. Soon, at the intersection of the alleys, a solid stone block of wild shell rock was installed. A beautiful nymph was sitting at the top of the rock, hiding her hand from the spray of water. As conceived by the creators, the water gushing from the spray was supposed to create a dome of mist over the girl.

During its existence, the fountain has been altered more than once, in addition, it was attacked by vandals. Therefore, now it does not look quite the way its creators intended. First, the pool fence was replaced, then the whole block of the savage stone disappeared. Now, instead of it, the rock is “depicted” by several separate stones.

The fountain fencing was replaced, the graceful water spray over the nymph sculpture was replaced with a “Chinese umbrella”, and the foot of the fountain now consists of individual stones instead of a solid block of savage stone. After the last restoration, the umbrella was replaced with a bowl, a water splitter was installed, and a protective coating was applied to the bronze figure of the girl.

Fountain “Nymph” is still under the “Chinese” umbrella

Photo: Odessa.online