The Warsaw Mermaid Statue (Syrenka Warszawska) is associated with one of Poland’s best-known romantic legends. Visit the Old Town Square to see the iconic monument and learn about the intriguing tale behind it.
Ask locals about the myth behind the mermaid. Legend has it that long ago a mermaid was swimming up the River Vistula toward Warsaw when she decided to take a break. The fishermen of Warsaw were taken with her beauty and singing voice and when she was later imprisoned by a rich and evil merchant, one of them came to save her. As a sign of her gratitude, she pledged to protect all fishermen after that and by extension, the people of Warsaw.
Head to the center of the square to examine the sculpture, which stands atop a modest fountain. Note how the mermaid, known locally as Syrenka, is holding a sword and a shield. As the protector of the city of Warsaw, she is always ready to fight. On her lower half, she has not one, but two tails where her legs would otherwise be.
The mermaid has appeared on Warsaw’s coat of arms since the 16th century and many representations of her can be found in the city. Look for other mermaid statues around town, including those on the Stanisław Markiewicz viaduct and Grochowski Street.
The statue standing in the square today is not the original, but a modern zinc cast copy. The original bronze mermaid, created by Konstanty Hegel in 1855, can be seen at Warsaw’s Historical Museum.
Bring along a camera as the Old Town Square is a beautiful place to take photographs, especially in winter when the Mermaid Statue is covered by lights. Stop at one of the nearby cafés for a drink or browse the souvenir shops around the square.
The Warsaw Mermaid Statue is found on the Old Town Square. To get here, take the tram or bus to the Stare Miasto stop.