Charybdis Fountain – Seaham, England - Atlas Obscura

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Charybdis Fountain

A vortex fountain that seems to rise out of the ground. 


Charybdis was created by the water sculptor William Pye in 2000 for the luxury Seaham Hotel and Spa, near Sunderland in Northern England.

Named after the mythical whirlpool, the fountain is enclosed in a cylinder of transparent acrylic, which appears to fuse with the water itself, giving the impression of a solid block of liquid rising out of the ground. In the center of the fountain, a large air-core vortex rises and falls every fifteen minutes. Stairs allow visitors to look right into the swirling water.

Charybdis is the name of a siren mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, who was hit by a thunderbolt from Zeus that transformed her into a whirlpool as harsh punishment for stealing an oxen from Hercules. Pye later built similar sculptures influenced by the story in Oman and Campinas, Brazil.

Know Before You Go

The fountain is located directly in front of Seaham Hall.

There is public parking at the cemetery and there are a number of signs inside the hotel gates warning that access is for guests and members only. 

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November 19, 2009

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