The city of Warsaw in Poland has for five centuries had a protector – the mermaid Syrenka. The mermaid is found everywhere in Warsaw – on the Warsaw Coat of Arms, on official buildings and vehicles, and in at least 3 prominent locations as a sculpture of the mermaid with her sword and her shield. She is very much a beloved icon of the city.
This sculpture is the oldest – located in Warsaw’s Old Town Market Square since 1855, created in bronze by Konstanty Hegel. The legend has it that this mermaid is a sister of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, but that she swam up the Vistula River long ago, to where Warsaw is now. See the separate page for this sculpture here, with more information and photos.
Jana Woydygi created the sculpture of the Syrenka at Markiewicza Bridge in 1905. She has the sword and shield as well, to protect the city when needed. The legend tells how the people of the city saved the mermaid long ago, and in gratitude she swore to always defend the city. I created a separate page for this sculpture here, with more information and photos.
Ludwika Nitschowa created this version of the Syrenka by the Swietokrzyski Bridge in 1939. It is about 25 feet tall. The face of the statue was modeled by Krystyna Krahelska, a polish poet and soldier who later took part in the 1944 uprising against the Germans. So in a very real sense this sculpture represents both the mythical mermaid protector and the actual war hero Krystyna Krahelska.
The Germans were by all accounts unaware of the mermaid’s status as protector of the city, and all three sculptures survived the war.
There is a separate page for this sculpture here, with more information and photos.