s the name already says it, this square was originally used as a fish market. In former times,
the river Birsig (which is now covered) divided the market
into two parts. In the centre of the square you can see the fish-market fountain.
The fish-market fountain is one of the most famous fountains of Basel. It was built in 1380
in order to give the fishermen the possibility to keep their goods fresh. Both sides of the
fountain are adorned with pictures of St. Mary, St. John and St. Peter.
In 1476, Jakob Sarbach renovated the fountain. In 1908, the fountain was moved some metres
to the north-west because the square was given a new shape. None of the buildings around the
fish-market square are older than this century. The original of the fountain can be admired in
the historical museum in the Barfüsser church.
According to the market rules of 1557, fresh fishes, such as carps, pikes, salamons and trouts
could only be sold on the fish market. Merely eight local fish sellers were entitled for this trade.
In order to keep the prices at a regulated level, non-local fish sellers were also allowed to sell