Mermaid of Warsaw
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Origin
- 3 The legend of the Warsaw mermaid
- 4 Monuments and carvings of the Warsaw mermaid
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Exactly when the mermaid was added to Warsaw's coat of arms is not known but it was already in place in 1390 with a shape very different from today's. It presented the animal with a bird's legs and a torso covered with dragon scales. On the seal of 1459, it already had feminine characteristics, the torso of a bird, human hands, the tail of a fish and bird legs with claws. The first presentation of the traditional mermaid dates from 1622.
The adoption of such a coat of arms was thought to be a medieval fashion, which recommended the adoption of the symbols of the newly established town's mythology. The presentation of the coat of arms was probably derived directly from the 2nd century book Physiologus.
The legend of the Warsaw mermaid
There are various legends about the Warsaw mermaid. The main one used in the City's literature and by tour guides says that the mermaid was swimming in the river when she stopped on a riverbank near the Old Town to rest. Liking it, she decided to stay. Local fisherman noticed that something was creating waves, tangling nets, and releasing their fish. They planned to trap the offender, but fell in love with her upon hearing her singing. Later, a rich merchant trapped the mermaid and imprisoned her. Hearing her cries, the fishermen rescued her, and ever since, the mermaid, armed with a sword and a shield, has been ready to help protect the city and its residents.
Another legend states that she assisted a prince when he got lost hunting and he founded the city in her honour.
Monuments and carvings of the Warsaw mermaid
The Old Town Market Place
The sculpture in Warsaw's Old Town Square was designed by Varsovian sculptor Konstanty Hegel.
Originally (1855-1928) and now (since 2000) it stands in the marketplace. At other times, it was moved to different places in Warsaw. In 2008, the original sculpture made of bronzed zinc was taken from the market for maintenance work. The sculpture was in a very poor condition due to mechanical damage and numerous acts of vandalism. The repaired original was transferred to the Museum of Warsaw, and replaced with a copy of made by the Jacka Guzery foundry in Dąbrowie near Kielce.
The Markiewicz viaduct
A mermaid sculpted by Jan Woydygi was erected on the Stanislaw Markiewicz viaduct in Karowej Street in 1905.
A mermaid designed by Alexander Żurakowski in 1947 was engraved onto the shield on the breast of a statue of an eagle located in the main meeting hall of the Polish parliament, the Sejm.
This mermaid is over the entrance to the former tram depot on 6 Inżynierski Street.
This mermaid is in front of the district office of the Warsaw borough of Praga-Południe at 274 Grochowski Street, and was made by Jerzy Chojnacki. It originally stood in Saska Kepa, in front of the Sawa theater.
The mermaid in the Polish parliament, the Sejm
- The coat of arms of Warsaw
- The Little Mermaid, in Copenhagen
- Pania of the reef, in Napier
- The Warsaw Nike
- "Warsaw legends". Warsaw Tour/Fall in love with Warsaw. Warsaw Tourist Office. Retrieved 2014-10-02. "Ever since, the Mermaid, armed with sword and shield, has been ready to help protect the city and its residents"
- "The Story of Syrenka - Symbol of Warsaw". In Your Pocket. In Your Pocket. Retrieved 2014-10-02. "Miraculously, a mermaid emerged and guided the prince to safety by firing burning arrows into the sky. Warsaw was founded out of gratitude, and the mermaid adopted as its emblem."