Fish Market


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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 their products.