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Caritas / 'Fountain of the golden apples'

The Caritas Fountain or 'Golden Apple Fountain' is the oldest fountain in Copenhagen. It was built in 1608 by Christian IV over one of the city's wells so that citizens could fetch fresh water. The six metre deep walled well still exists under the fountain, making it Denmark's only preserved Renaissance fountain.

The fountain figures were designed by the sculptor Statius Otto and cast by the bronze caster Peter Hoffmann, who came from Nuremberg but worked in Denmark. The bronze for the casting was delivered from Kronborg Gjethus and originates from Danish church bells that had been seized by Christian IV in the years 1601-02 to cast cannons. Caritas means charity in Latin and is linked to the symbolism behind the fountain's figures.

It was renovated in 1781 with a new plinth carved in marble, presumably from the construction of the Marble Church. The plinth is engraved with Christian VII's monogram and the city arms of Copenhagen.

The fountain was used for the first time in its new appearance on 26 May 1892 to mark the golden wedding anniversary of King Christian IX and Queen Louise. This tradition has continued and the fountain is still used to mark royal anniversaries by jumping out with gold-plated apples. These include Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II's birthday, His Majesty King Frederik the 10th's birthday and Constitution Day on 5 June.