The Students Fountain is very important to Krakow. The statue was based on the figure of a prophet in the altar of St. Mary’s Cathedral made by a German sculptor Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz in Polish). The statue was made in 1958 and was designed by Jan Budziłło. The statue is located on plac Mariacki, which is located next to St. Mary’s Cathedral. The water of the fountain is said to represent the student’s tears.
Veit Stoss was born before 1445 in Horb am Neckar. When he was young he moved to Nuremberg and Married Barbara Hertz and lived a very successful life as a sculptor. When he moved to Krakow in 1476 he made one of his most famous works: the altar in St. Mary’s Church. It took him 12 years to build the altar for St. Mary’s Church with over 200 sculptures.
The statue is made out of bronze and is an enlarged version of a figure found in The Altar of Veit Stoss, located in St. Mary’s Church. It was a gift to the city of Krakow from the artisans of Krakow. The figure is a religious prophet and can be seen on the upper left side of the fully opened altar. Because the fountain was built during the communist times, the basen of the fountain shows symbols of the different trades in Krakow to represent the working class. The face of the statue shows a boy, named Żaka, crying. It is said that the water represents the students tears, although the water is not coming from the students eyes, but from the plate that the student is standing on.
Although there are not many stories about the Student’s Fountain, legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Student’s Fountain you will one day return to Krakow. Some say that since the statue was built during communist rule in Krakow, they could not create an openly religious statue. This is why the creators of the statue presented the figure as a student, and not the religious prophet from Stoss’s altar.