Warsaw

The Story of Syrenka - Symbol of Warsaw

24 Mar 2017

Feisty, beautiful and busty. Her image has bewitched millions, and you’ll find her film star looks printed on everything from flags to mags, from buses to beer cans. Who is this godless Jezebel you ask? None other than the Syrenka - the fresh water mermaid who’s been representing Warsaw since before you’d remember. Firmly established as an icon of the Polish capital you’ll find no less than three mermaid statues in Warsaw, specifically on the Old Town Square, Świętokrzyski Bridge and on ul. Karowa. The original mermaid – or 'syrena' in local parlance – stands in the Historical Museum, and was crafted from bronze by the expert hand of Ludwika Nitschowa.

The first known mention of a mermaid as the symbol of Warsaw can be traced to a royal seal dated from 1390, though this one certainly wasn’t much to look at; depicting a hideous looking bloke with a dragons tail was as close as you’d come to seeing a marketing blooper in medieval times, so it’s no surprise that over the next few centuries this rather grim form was given a bit of plastic surgery – man was turned into woman, and the dragon became a fish.

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