Walking through the streets of Warsaw, it difficult not to notice that the city is flooded with statues of a mermaid, as well as drawings, carvings and other types of jewelry with her image. This not just a coincidence, because this mythological creature with a fish tail seen on the coat of arms of Warsaw in the 14th century.
The legend of the Warsaw mermaid or siren is relatively simple. She hails from the Baltic Sea, where (according to some versions of history) she had a twin sister, the famous Little Mermaid from Copenhagen. The mermaid swam upstream of the Vistula until she was in the place where the old part of Warsaw is now located.
There she saw fishermen fishing and decided to pull all the prey out of their nets. The fishermen were angry at the obsessive creature and tried to catch it, but as soon as they saw the mermaid and heard her call, they immediately stopped trying to catch her. Later, the mermaid captured by a wealthy merchant who wanted to use her as a “toy”. But the fishermen could not see her in this position and freed her from the clutches of a greedy merchant. The mermaid was grateful to the residents of the city and since then promised to protect the fishermen and their homes. From that moment on, she became the guardian and defender of the city in difficult times for Warsaw.
This statue in Warsaw’s Old Town is often considered the “official” image of the iconic guardian mermaid and the most visited monument of the Polish capital. The statue of the Warsaw Mermaid freely available, but in winter it is usually difficult to get too close to it, since an ice rink is usually built around the statue.
Address: Old Town Market Square.
Working hours: daily, around the clock.
Cost of visiting: free of charge.
How to get there:
by trams NoNo13, 4, 20, 26, 23, 28 (stop Stare Miasto);
by buses NoNo190, 160, 527 (Stare Miasto stop).
History and metamorphosis of the mermaid
The first image of the Siren appears in the coat of arms of Warsaw in the XIV century. There presented as a dragon with eagle clawed paws. A hundred years later, siren acquired a fish tail and a pair of underdeveloped wings. Since 1622, she began to be portrayed as a, the lower half of whose body is fishy. The Arsenal of the Siren changed depending on the development of military equipment. But in 1622, the coat of arms was officially approved, where she appears with a shield and a short sword. In 1938, a red background added, and the sword was replaced by a saber.
As for the sculptural images of the Mermaid, the oldest of them is the one that is located on the Market of Staruvka Square (old town). It made in the middle of the 19th century, and its author is K. Hegel. True, the original statue is not on the square, but in the Museum of Warsaw, and tourists offered a copy.
In 1939, sculptor Ludovika Nichowa made a new Siren, which now adorns the Vistula embankment. The model for the sculpture was Christina Krachelskaya, a young ethnographer. This woman became a member of the Resistance and died in the Warsaw Uprising.