Warsaw fairy tales and legends - places worth seeing
The best known legend – the Mermaid of Warsaw
Warsaw is associated with many mythical figures, which is why sightseeing of Warsaw in their footsteps is a good idea. What is the best known Warsaw legend? Undoubtedly it is the one about the Mermaid of Warsaw, who once swam in the Vistula River and admired the beauty of the city, and sang songs whenever it had a rest on the shore. Her voice would always move the local fishermen, but also attracted attention of a greedy merchant, who kidnapped and locked her up. When a son of a fisherman heard the mermaid's weeping, he decided to save her, and in gratitude she promised him to always defend Warsaw. She does that to this day, and you can find her figure in many places across the city. The Mermaid of Warsaw has two well-known monuments in the capital – one in the Old Town Market Square, and the other in the Boulevards at the Świętokrzyski Bridge. You must go to the historic bridge at Karowa Street, you can also find her sculpture there. It is also present in numerous decorations, particularly in the Old Town, and appears on reliefs and paintings which adorn the walls of the city's townhouses. It is also depicted, with a sword and a shield, in Warsaw's coat of arms.
The legend about a stone bear
What else is worth seeing on the route of Warsaw legends? Near St. John's Church you will find a stone statue of a bear. The legend goes that trapped inside it is Gniewko, a lad who was taken care of by a she-bear after he had got lost in a forest. Some time thereafter, he joined the court of the Mazovian Duke Janusz and his wife Danuta. One day, when he was walking around Warsaw, Gniewko met a beautiful girl, but did not dare to come up and talk to her because he was shy. It was only after six months that he finally took the courage to introduce himself to her, but it then turned out that Jadwiga, as that was her name, had just got married in St. John's Church. Seeing Gniewko in unbelievable despair, his sister Milena cast a spell on him and turned him into stone. The spell can be undone only by a girl who will truly love Gniewko. The main character of the legend is still waiting for the love of his life. You must see him at 10 Świętojańska Street.
See what legends are hidden in Warsaw
Warsaw fairy tales and legends – The Basilisk and the Gold Duck
Warsaw legends and fairy tales include also a figure called Basilisk, which wrought havoc in the city, turning everyone he looked at into stone. The creature was defeated by a wandering tailor who stood in front of it hidden behind a mirror. The Basilisk looked at its own reflection and turned itself into stone. The memory of the infamous monster is cultivated by the Basilisk Restaurant located at the Old Town Market Square. On your way to the Powiśle quarter (at Tamka Street, near the pedestrian bridge), you will find a small fountain with a golden duck in a crown. The legendary creature is in fact a princess bewitched into a gold duck in the dungeons of the nearby castle. The duck was once met by a poor shoemaker Lutek, whom it gave a sack of gold coins. He could spend the money on whatever he wanted, but he was not allowed to share it with anyone. However, Lutek broke the prohibition when he gave some of the coins to a poor soldier without one leg. As soon as he did that, the princess appeared in front of him and took away everything the shoemaker had purchased. The lesson from the legend is that happiness is brought by honesty and good heart, not by wealth.
The legend about Wars and Sawa
The legend is about the name of the city, Warsaw. Once upon a time, an old fisherman named Wars and his wife named Sawa gave shelter to a stranded Duke by the name of Siemomysł. In gratitude, the Duke ruled that the land on which the couple lived were to be named Warszawa.