On the Trail of Unusual Animals

Praga Safari

In Praga North, one can meet many animals, and this by no means only includes the inhabitants of the Warsaw Zoo.  Animals, including mythological and fantastic ones, are present in the district in many forms – as sculptures, murals and architectural details.

If there is one animal that is most associated with Praga North, and considered by many to be one of its symbols, it would be the bear.  No wonder, since an enclosure for brown bears was created  in the 1950s at Aleja Solidarności,.  From that moment on, the sight of the bears was something that successive generations of Praga Residents got used to.  Tatra the bear, born there in 1982, was a favourite of more than just the visitors to the Warsaw Zoo.  The bear died in early February 2021, while her younger friends, Sabina and Mała, had been transferred from their enclosure to the Zoo earlier.  In order to celebrate the memory of Tatra and the end of an epoch in the history of the Zoo, a statue of a life-size bear is to be erected in the enclosure in the future, and the site itself will serve educational purposes.  The she-bears also became the protagonists of a mural painted on a building at 14 Floriańska Street, opposite the enclosure.  There are two bears on it and an inscription:  ‘Widzi MIsie Prage,’ a pun on the word Polish word for a bear.  Near the enclosure, in the Praga Park, there is another member of this species, although due to its shape and the fact that it is covered with inscriptions and drawings, it evokes mixed feelings.  This animal can also be found in the courtyard of the Museum of the Warsaw Praga at Targowa 50/52.  The blue, slightly angular has become a favourite for children visiting the museum.

In addition to brown bears, Praga North features a giraffe, or rather a sculpture depicting it.   It has been standing in the Praga Park since 1981 and is made of acid-resistant stainless steel.   Its author is Władysław Dariusz Frycz.  The sculpture is a gift to Warsaw children from the Warsaw Zoo.  Instead of patches, the giraffe has holes which are willingly used by small birds, sparrows and mazurkas, who nest here.  Frycz also created a sculpture of another animal that can be found in the Praga Park – a rhino.

Mythological animals  ‘live’ in Praga Północ.   The district was especially liked by griffins – animals with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.  The griffin has been a very popular motif since the Mesopotamian Empire and has been present in various cultures and periods.  It was a symbol of,  among other things, strength, vigilance and speed.   These creatures were often mentioned as keepers of wealth.  They can be seen on the façade of the tenement house at 19 Targowa Street, as decoration of window panels.  Others can be found on the building at 26 Okrzei Street, where, apart from them, there are also bats.  Griffins are also present in Szmulowizna: on the facade of the tenement house at Kawęczyńska Street 16, built for employees of the tram depot, and on the premises of the depot itself.

Another type of mythological animals, the hippocampi – half horses, half fish – can be seen on the bas-relief of the façade of the former water chamber, currently the Registry Office at 1/3 Kłopotowski Street.   They are shown pulling Neptune’s chariot, the god of the seas and oceans.


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Park Praski, ul. Floriańska 14, Targowa 19 i 50/52, Okrzei 26, Kawęczyńska 16, Kłopotowskiego 1/3