About the name of the city

Pike or tench?

The name of the city of Lublin is quite mysterious. Many etymologists have tried to find its roots. The city’s legend tries to explain the origin of the name, pointing to a rather surprising source.

The sunshine was beautiful, it was May or maybe July. The surrounds of our town, which was yet unnamed, were covered in greenery. The pure river Bystrzyca was swiftly rushing amongst hills. “Hey, you, fishermen, what town is it?,”, asked a prince who stopped by the river with his companions. He jumped off his horse, passed the reins to his squire and approached the men standing by their boats. They were standing in awe because such mighty lords had never been seen stopping their horses on the Bystrzyca.

“We don’t know, my lord,” stammered the bravest one. “Why, are you also travelling?” asked the prince. “No, my lord, we live in the town but it has no name,” explained the fishermen, admiring the travellers’ rich garments and horse harness.

Then the prince decided the place would be called after the fish the locals catch in the Bystrzyca. He told them to cast nets. The knights were standing on the bank, watching. When the seine was pulled out, there were two fish caught – a pike and a tench (called lin in Polish). And the prince said, stopping a dispute which started right away on the bank: “the pike is a river wolf, I don’t want the people living here to be like this, and the lin is a gentle fish, so let’s choose one of the two … wait a moment … pike or tench (szczupak lub lin…) let your town be called lub-lin. And the prince left Lublin satisfied.

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