The Warsaw Mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw, Poland. She appears on the city crest and is widely portrayed as a mythical guardian of the city. In Polish she is called Syrenka, which is equivalent to the Engish Siren.
The Warsaw Mermaid sculpture in the Old Town Marketplace was designed by Varsovian sculptor Konstanty Hegel and installed in 1855. It remained there until 1928, after which it was moved around to different locations in the city.
In 2000 the Warsaw Mermaid was returned to the marketplace. By 2008 its condition had deteriorated due to environmental factors, physical damage, and vandalism. It was removed for repair. The restored original was then put on display in the Museum of Warsaw, and a copy made by the Jacek Guzera foundry in Dąbrowie took its place in the Marketplace.
Today the Warsaw Mermaid stands above the market stalls that fill the square, standing at the ready to defend the people and city of Warsaw.
Where Did the Warsaw Mermaid Come From?
According to legend, a Mermaid swimming in the sea stopped on the riverbank near the Old Town to rest. She found the place so admirable that she decided to stay. Local fisherman living nearby noticed that something was creating waves, tangling nets, and releasing their fish. Although their original intention was to trap the offender, they fell in love with the Mermaid upon hearing her sing.
Later, a rich merchant trapped the Mermaid and imprisoned her in a wooden hut. A young fisherman heard the Mermaid’s cry and with the help of his mates, released her, whereupon she declared her readiness to offer fishermen her help whenever it would be needed. Ever since, the Mermaid, armed with sword and shield, has been ready to help protect the city and its residents.
Evolution of the Warsaw Mermaid
The earliest emblem of Warsaw, dating from 1390, included the figure of a dragon with a man’s head, wielding a sword and shield. Gradually the man became a woman, and the dragon tail became that of a fish. By the early 17th century the figure was clearly a Mermaid, brandishing a sword overhead and a shield raised for battle.
An entire mythology has grown up around the Warsaw Mermaid and her interactions with the people and royals of the city.
Warsaw Mermaid Fun Facts
In the United Kingdom, all members of The Queen’s Royal Hussars wear the Warsaw Crest in recognition of their service alongside Polish troops in Italy from 1944 to 1945.
Also in the UK, members of the 651 and 654 air squadrons wear the Warsaw Crest in recognition of their valor in support of the Polish Forces at the Battle of Monte Cassino during the Italian Campaign in World War 2.
Planning to visit Poland?
Check out our Poland travel destination page for all your information needs, including news, ideas, advice, and links.
Only interested in the most important sights? Choose from the Faber Dozen, our fifteen best ideas for a memorable visit.
Just Browsing? Go back to the narangah Travel home page to uncover a wealth of travel information about destinations near and far. Imagine yourself there, and let us take you exploring around the world!