Several cities have a mermaid statue as an icon or symbol of the city. This includes the capitals of Denmark, Finland, and Poland.
The Syrenka (mermaid) is the symbol and protector of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. The mermaid has been on the city’s coat-of-arms since the 16th century, and symbols of the mermaid can be found all over the city.
The most famous of these is the Syrenka bronze statue created by Konstanty Hegel in 1855, a copy of which is found in Warsaw’s Old Town Market square.
One of the legends of how she came to be there relates that she is the sister of the mermaid in Copenhagen. One of the sisters swam north to Denmark, while the other swam into the Vistula river, and settled near what is now Warsaw. She was familiar with the humans there for her beautiful singing.
When she was captured by a man wanting to profit from her singing, she was freed by the local people. In gratitude, she promised to protect them if they were ever in danger.
It is interesting to note that the Nazis were unaware of the history and significance of the mermaid statues when they occupied Poland, and while they destroyed or stole many other works of art, they left the mermaids unharmed!
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