Poland-00872 - Mermaid of Warsaw

Poland-00872 – Mermaid of Warsaw

Poland-00872 - Mermaid of Warsaw

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The Mermaid of Warsaw is a symbol of Warsaw and stands in the Old Town Market Place. Image of a mermaid have been used on the crest of Warsaw as its symbol, since the mid of the 14th century.

Legend says that two mermaid sisters swam to the shore of the Baltic Sea from their home in the depths. One of them decided to swim further towards the Danish straits. Now she is sitting on a rock in Copenhagen. The second swam to the seaside town, Gdańsk and up the Vistula River, to Old Town, where she came out of the water to rest. She liked it so much that she decided to stay.

The fishermen, in the area, noticed someone was agitating the waves of the Vistula River, tangling their nets and freeing fish. They decided to catch the culprit but when they heard the enchanting song of the mermaid, they gave up on their plans and came to love the beautiful woman-fish.

A rich merchant caught her and keep her as a prisoner in a wooden shed, with no access to the water. Her cries were heard by a young farm-hand who with the help of a friend freed her one night. The mermaid, in recognition of the fact that the inhabitants had come to her aid, swore that if they would be in danger, she would come to protect them. That is why the Warsaw mermaid is armed with a sword and a shield, for the protection of the city.

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