Wings of the Seagull


Wings of the Seagull

The inspiration for the creation of the metal monument shaped like wings comes from the seagull depicted in the coat of arms of the town of Gniew. The wings serve as an attractive backdrop for photos against the Vistula Valley. The idea and execution of the Wings are credited to the employees of the Mikrostyk company, with the project designed by Mateusz Grabowski, who works as a technologist at Mikrostyk.

The undertaking was developed in collaboration with the Mayor of the Town and Municipality of Gniew and the company Inwest-Kom.



How the Wings were created

The Wings of the Seagull were cut at Mikrostyk using a laser, and then the sharp edges were smoothed. They are made of steel.

Skrzydła mewy; gniew;

Discover the touching legend of our town

The origin of the name "Gniew"

Andrzej Solecki

These were ancient times. The Vistula River, just as it does today, flowed through the ancient land of the Slavs, spreading its waters wide and eventually emptying into the sea.

It was a paradisiacal spot, richly endowed by Mother Nature, yet it had few settlers. Fearful of the fierce floods and the swamps left in their wake, people settled in the forests west of the Vistula. Only on one hill did a few newcomers settle, engaging in crafts. They utilized the rich clay deposits to make pots and jugs. A carpenter crafted fine benches and tables, also engaging in cooperage. The settlers couldn't exploit the abundant fish and waterfowl because their clumsy dugout canoes were prone to capsizing, and the river's current had already claimed many lives. The shores were marshy and inaccessible, and they lacked proper fishing equipment. They lived poorly, relying only on their small community.

Sometimes, rafters would travel north on the deep current of the Vistula, but it was rare for them to succeed in trading skins and a jug of honey for a bit of salt or everyday items.

One day, news spread that a stranger was building a hut in a ravine on the mountainside. A tall and beautiful woman helped him, singing while she worked. The man called her "birdie." In the riverside thicket stood his raft, with boats tied up. He boldly ventured onto the Vistula, catching many fish. He sought no contact with anyone until he ran to the settlement one day, asking the women for help because his wife was in labor. A beautiful boy was born to them. In gratitude for their help, he gave the women bags of dried and smoked fish and bundles of wild geese and ducks. The newcomer's family grew close to the settlers, offering advice and help to each other.



Days passed this way until a terrible day of hot summer arrived. The fisherman went to the woods to collect honey from beehives. His wife, with their young boy, went to the Vistula, carrying laundry in a wicker basket. She left the boy on the shore, instructing him not to wander off. She crossed a ford to a sandbank and started washing clothes. The water here was cleaner than on the muddy shore. Suddenly, the sand beneath her feet shifted and gave way. The deep current swallowed her. The boy, engrossed in play, didn't see what happened and wandered away, chasing colorful dragonflies. As the sun set, the tired boy, calling for his mother in vain, fell asleep.

The fisherman returned in the evening to find the house empty. He went to the settlement, asking if anyone had seen his wife and son, pleading for help to find them. They all rushed to the river to search the banks. When the fisherman saw the basket caught in the riverside bushes, he knew the Vistula had taken his happiness. He was fierce in his grief. Silently, he climbed to the top of the slope, raised his fists to the sky, cursing the river, "I will overcome you, accursed one! I will bury your waters so that you bring no more suffering to people!"

His anger spread to everyone. The settlers began to erode the mountain's summit, bringing earth and rolling stones, burying the swamp and the riverbank. Gradually, the mountain became flatter, and the riverbank receded eastward. On the newly created plain, people built new huts. The fisherman, now called "The Angry One," led them, and the settlement was named "Gniew" (Anger).

It was The Angry One's idea to build a barge together and transport their goods before winter set in.

One day, while sailing on the barge, The Angry One and his companions saw a white bird flying to the shore, carrying a fish in its beak. They marveled, as such birds didn't nest in the area. On the sandy shore, a small boy stretched out his hands to the bird, which landed on his shoulder, offering the fish. The Angry One recognized his son and, shouting, steered toward the shore. The frightened seagull, with a strange wail, soared toward the blue sky and disappeared.

Those who saw and heard the boy's story claimed that the mother, transformed into a bird, had saved the child from starvation by feeding him fish.

Under The Angry One's leadership, Gniew began to thrive. People lived safely on the mountain's summit. They tamed the Vistula, but differently than they had intended. When they stopped fearing it, it became their sustainer and window to the world.
Thus, Gniew emerged with a river port on the Vistula, its emblem becoming a "white seagull with a fish in its beak."

Source: "Legends and Tales of the Gniew Land," edited by Anna Czyżewska, 2006

wings of the seagull; skrzydła mewy; legenda gniew; miasto gniew, legends, old legends, polish legends; polskie legendy; sredniowiecze