Manhole cover in Füssen

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Manhole cover in Füssen, Germany

On the manhole covers in Füssen, you see the local city arms showing three legs. This is a fine example of canting arms. The German word for feet is “Füsse”. But why sounds this Bavarian town name like a body part?

There are more than one story about the real meaning of the city name. Some sources speak about an ancient Roman camp called Foetibus/Foetes. Another interpretation refers to the Latin word fauces which describes a sort of ravine. Actually, the gorge of the Lech river is not far away from the city.

So why do you see three legs instead of three feet? In the Bavarian dialect, words like “Füsse” or “Fiass” describe the whole leg. For me, I love the arrangement of the three legs. It reminds me of a triskelion, a pretty old symbol.

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