Fountains, washing places and watering troughs
A fountain, according to popular sense of the inhabitants in the Jiloca valley, is a place where the water springs out in a controlled way, in other words, through a device, artefact, an humanized area or an appropriate architecture. Unlike the natural spring, which is the place where water springs in a natural way, the fountain has a connotation of piping and water shift, and control or exploitation of this source. And it is, in its own right, as part in the field of water architecture.
Water was canalized and fountains were built during the medieval times, but it wasn´t until the Modern era when it came to a serious concern by the council members to ensure the supply and health standards of drinking water. In many localities, the hydraulic works entailed the most important investment and and the pride of its neighbours.
Until the 20th century, there were no exist any specific buildings to facilitate the laundry. Before that century it used to be performed over wood panels or stones on the river banks, which remain traces in many places.
The washing places have evolved over the last two centuries, seeking proximity to the villages and the comfort for women that came to launder.
The most ancient washing places appear linked to the irrigation ditches. In general, the washing machines built in the modern era were not covered, but years afterwards they commenced protecting them with gabled roofs.
The washrooms with a basin did not appeared until the second half of the 20th century, by using the water repellent possibilities of the hardened cement. They followed a common type in every village: a single nave covered by several continued barrel vaults and a large basin for washing purposes.
At some places is was taken the water supply from any nearby spring water ir order to install the integrated based model of urban fountain, watering troughs, washroom and an irrigation basin.
The watering troughs were very frequent in the Jiloca valley, as many families used to had small flocks in order to get provided with meet and wool. They take part in the field of water architecture.
By its functionality and typology, they can be of three types:
- Next to the reservoirs and water wells in the country houses we can find small watering troughs composed by a long basin, built in one piece and completely enclosed, not lowered and without any drain. These ones are for private use.
- The watering troughs located over a spring water used to be composed by several linked basins by means of getting lowered at the shortest sides that let the water circulation among the basins. These have a public character.
- The watering troughs located beside a local fountain, usually collect the excess waters from the drinking fountains. They normally take part of interesting popular hydraulic sets, spreading its use along the Jiloca valley since the 16th century. They have a public character.