The Fontana Morosini (‘Lions’) is the best-known fountain in Heraklion, serving as a landmark for locals and visitors alike. Following recent restoration work, it is now one of the city’s finest monuments. The eight-lobed basin rests on an ornate three-stepped pedestal. It is adorned with reliefs of scenes from mythology and marine life, such as Tritons and dolphins, together with coats of arms. Above the basin are four lions from whose mouth water flowed. The fountain was originally crowned with an outsize statue of Poseidon, which was later destroyed, probably in an earthquake
The fountain was built in 1628 by Provveditor General Francesco Morosini. By means of a system of pipes that was complex and innovative in its time, he succeeded in supplying the parched city of Candia with water from the springs at Archanes, in the area known as Karydaki, where the monumental aqueduct still stands.
To mark the inauguration of the fountain, Morosini saw to the minting of a commemorative medallion with his head on the obverse and the fountain on the reverse. He also had special legal ordinances passed relating to the correct function and maintenance of the fountain.