Many visitors to Warsaw’s Old Town may ask why is there a statue of a mermaid in here? The similar figure has appeared on Warsaw’s coat of arms since 1390. The first presentation of a mermaid dates to 1622 and there are several legends about it.
Legend has it that there was a sea mermaid who swam up the Wisła (Vistula) River and came to the banks of the Wisła River. She saw the Old Town and fell in love with the harmonious surroundings, she then decided to stay.
The fishermen were angry at the meddlesome creature who meddled with their nets and released their fish and planned to catch it, but once they saw the mermaid and heard her siren song they were moved so much and could not harbor any hate for her any longer. However, one day, the mermaid was captured and imprisoned by a rich merchant. Her crying was heard by a brave fisherman’s son who with his friends released her and punished the evil merchant severely.
“I will never forget your deed” said the mermaid. “I can’t be coming to sing for you any longer, but whenever your people would meet overwhelming troubles, I will be ready with my shield and sword to protect you, just like you protected my freedom”. From that moment, she became the city’s guardian and protector in times of need.
Nowadays the mermaid of Warsaw is a symbol of Warsaw, you can find numerous mermaid statues here, specifically the most famous version standing in the Old Town Square. This statue is regarded as the “official” depiction of the iconic guardian mermaid and is the one that sightseeing tours stop at.
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