Syrenka - Mermaid, Warsaw
The Mermaid Statue stands in the very centre of Old Town Square, surrounded by a fountain. Due to vandalism, the original statue had been moved to the grounds of the Historical Museum of Warsaw – the statue in the square is a copy.
This is not the only one mermaid in Warsaw. Another is located on the bank of the Vistula River near Świętokrzyski Bridge and another near ulica Karowa. According to legend, a mermaid swimming in from the sea stopped on the riverbank near the Old Town to rest. She found the place so admirable that she decided to stay. Local fishermen 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 siren 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.
The Syrenka, the Mermaid is the symbol of Warsaw and dates from the middle of the 19th century. It is perhaps the most photogenic monument in the City
I have seen this symbol on souvenirs but also on architectural details and is used also as part of business logos.
I am not writing about the tale behind her, instead I will mention that it stands in the Old Town’s Market Square and there is no way to miss it if you visit Warsaw.
I came across it as we were having our stroll. The temperature was quite high and kids were playing underneath the statue by the fountain that burbles at ground level. They were splashing water and having fun, while a man dressed in Traditional Costume of a Kozac was trying to attract attention and customers to the restaurant close by.
This multimedia museum had been refurbished for the 200th (2010) of Frédéric Chopin's birth and is one of the most modern museums in Poland. Collections are displayed on five levels of exhibition space in 15 rooms.
Innovative forms of exploration are based on interaction with the audience and the immediate response to the individual needs of visitors. It helps capture the social consciousness of the composer’s identity, (biography in a board social and historical context).
It hosts piano recitals and competitions of Chopin’s work.
Personally, I loved every minute spent here. Like the rest of the visitors we had the opportunity to see original manuscripts and documents written by the composer, photographs and sculptures of him and much of his correspondence. Spent time listening to several of his compositions too.
Free admission on Sundays.
The Warsaw mermaid statue is located in Market Square of the Old Town. It is a symbol and an icon of Warsaw. There are three mermaids and the one in the Old Town is the first mermaid, the second is near Świętokrzyski bridge and the third is at Karowa street.
The Little Mermaid (Polish: Syrenka) is a symbol of the City.
I also heard a familiar story of the sisters of sirens from the Baltic Sea. Two sisters, from unknown reasons, are separated. One went to Copenhagen, and the other came here on bank of Vistula. Her unhappy fate was that she was in the right place at the wrong time. Its value is nearly cost her life, but thanks to the kindness of the local fisherman's son she was saved. She promised to defend her lovely place and its good souls whenever they find themselves at the wrong time. Therefore is always displayed with a sword and shield.
Every good story has more version, for every taste. Today is also the subject of various controversy in an effort to be incorporated her meaning (and appearance) into modern times.
Every right place has and its wrong time who weaken him, but and the wrong place had his right time to makes them stronger.
When you think about the turbulent history of this place, it could be ask the question - what is always pulling out of trouble? Where does it come this strength? Is it the work of some good souls, the sword of someone or something or is this somewhat mythical? Nevertheless, I expect the Little Mermaid story will be the theme for some future storytellers.
Today the sculpture was the most photogenic monument in the City and its fountain entertained and cooled young Varsovians and a few guests.
When you are in Warsaw try to find "Wiadukt Stanisława Markiewicza". There is a beautiful Mermaid. Wiadukt Markiewicza is located near the old town, when you go from Royal Castle to the Presidental Palace, turn left in Karowa street. There is big Mermaid. Some mermaid photos:
According to a legend, the mermaid Szawa (or Sava) from the Wisla river was in love with a prince called War or (Varu). This legend explains the founding and the naming of the city of Warsaw (Warszawa). She stands in a corner of Warsaw's Old Town market square and is part of Warsaw's coat of arms.
Warsaw mermaid is a symbol of this city and it is depicted on coat of arms. Actually mermaid monument was already made in 1855, but this one is not original, in such way trying to save real one from vandalism.
The mermaid is a part of Warsaw’s legendary story. The mermaid swam from the sea and stayed here to rest, but later was imprisoned by fishermen. As in stories about Arabic genies, mermaid asked to release her and promised to fulfill wishes (in this case - to defend town).
The Mermaid has been the coat of arms of Warsaw for centuries, which is rather unusual for a place that is situated about 300 km from the sea. Legend has it that there were two mermaid sisters who swam from the Atlantic into the Baltic Sea. The smaller one now sits on a rock at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen. The other swam to Gdansk and then up the Vistula River as far as the Warsaw Old Town. She loved the place and would sing to the local fishermen in her beautiful voice. One day, however, she was tricked and captured by a wealthy merchant, who planned to put her in a cage and show at fairs. Her cries for help were heard by some local people, who came to her rescue. In return, the mermaid offered to defend them in times of need. That is why the Warsaw Mermaid bears a sword and a shield. And she certainly needed them in the course of Warsaw's turbulent past.
The emblem can now be found on all the Warsaw trams, buses and taxis. In addition, there are two statues of the Mermaid here: the larger one on the Vistula near the Swietokrzyski Bridge and the other, smaller one - now in the centre of the Old Town Square. The latter is a zinc cast of the sculpture by Konstanty Hegel, created in 1855. The statue on the Vistula, on the other hand, dates back to 1939. Its author Ludwika Krasowska-Nitschova modelled its face on that of a young poet Krystyna Krahelska, who was killed in combat on the first day of the Warsaw Uprising 1944.
The Syrenka (mermaid) is the mythic guardian of Warsaw. Legend has it that once fishermen noticed the presence of a mermaid in the Vistula river. A rich merchant decided to capture her in order to display her in a menagerie and earn money. When two young men heard the whining of the mermaid in her cage, they freed her and returned her to the river. In return for the help from the Warsaw citizenry and as a gesture of good will, the mermaid promised to protect Warsaw in the times to come whenever need be. This is why the mermaid is usually depicted with sword and shield, in a warlike pose. Her statue on the Old Town square is now probably the most-photographed site in all Warsaw.
Warsaw is one of those old European cities full of beautifying statues and monuments. Brussels has "Manneken P1ss", Berlin has the "Berliner Baer", but the most famous and loved statue of Warsaw is the Mermaid:
This zinc sculpture by Konstanty Hegel was made in the year 1855 & is almost 3 metres tall, surrounded by a small water feature. It was located in different parts of the city in the past, but has taken-up permanent residence here since the year 2000.
Warsaw is over 300km (200miles) away from the nearest sea coast, so why has the city adopted a mermaid as its symbol? City records of "old Warsaw with strong walls" date as far back as 1609 and mention the appearance of a kind of a sea monster with a female upper body, holding a sword in its claws.
Today, "Syrenka" appears on every municipal building, buses, trams and taxis. The people of Warsaw are proud of their symbol, and she is always pictured with a sword in hand to represent the fighting spirit of the city's citizens.
There was also a 5-times bigger than life-sized "Syrena" statue on the bank of the river Vistul; created by sculptress Louise Nitschowa in 1939. The German armies destroyed many monuments (i.e. Chopin & Copernicus), but fortunately they were unaware of the mermaid's symbolism, and it was one of the few that were not destroyed. The statue in the Old Market Square is much smaller & more graceful. It is called Syrenka , which means "Little Mermaid".
One of the most fascinating monuments in Warsaw in my opinion. There are many legends why the mermaid became the emblem of Warsaw.
Read some of them.
In the middle of the Market Square we can see the symbol of Warsaw - a mermaid. There is a legend connected with this mermaid - she was a young woman called Sawa, who was changed into a mermaid by a wicked witch and had to live in the Vistula river. Her beloved one, a fisherman called Wars, after many adventures, rescued her, and they decided to marry and live on the shore of Vistula. From their names (Wars + Sawa) derives the name of the city “Warszawa” (as we call it in Polish).
The Mermaid who stands in the Old Town Square was first mentioned in city records in 1609. It seemed strange that a city who's nearest sea coast is 200 miles away should have a mermaid as its symbol. Old legends tell of fishermen catching her in the River Wisla. The Mermaid is the proud symbol of Warsaw and can be seen pictured on buses, taxis and Government Buildings where she proudly wears her crown which was removed from all images during the fifty years of communist rule. Sometimes the letters PW are shown meaning "Polska Walczaca" = "Poland Fights"
The monument was built by Konstanty Helg. The monument was situated on the Old Market Square from 1855 to 1928 and from 2000. Meantime, it changed its place.
There is a legend of a mermaid in Warsaw, Poland. Half woman, half fish, Syrenka lived in the waters of the Vistula River and would sit on a stone and comb her hair, singing. One day three peasants decided to catch her for a prince's gift. Filling their ears with wax so as not to hear her singing, they threw a net over Syrenka and shut her in a barn for the night. As they planned to journey the next morning to the prince,they asked a small shephard to stand guard. Syrenka sang and begged for freedom, and the shephard set her free. She dove into the river saying, 'Ilived here and sang for ordinary people but they have disappointed me. I will leave and you will never see me again. However, because I love this place, when difficult times come I will return and arm the city with a shield and sword.` Based on this legend, Warsaw established its coat-of-arms with the symbol of Syrenka.