About Żmij who guarded the town

In the care of a creature

For centuries, the inhabitants of towns and villages sought protection from various creatures and monsters. The dwellers of Lublin were to be looked after by Żmij – an angry, but fair creature.

Once an oak grove grew on the Old Town Hill. It was inhabited by a peculiar creature. It was neither a dragon nor a serpent, and the contemporaries called it “Żmij”. He looked very scary. It is said that it had three heads, two paws, powerful wings, and a tail with a sharp, venomous spike. He frightened people, but they made sacrifices to him anyway, because he was taking care of them.

What was he doing? He ruled over the rains, thanks to which crops could grow peacefully and provide food to the inhabitants of Lublin. It happened that he gave the townspeople gifts – milk, grain, and even money. The task of Żmij was also to guard the Kalinowy Bridge that connected the world of the alive and the dead. It was thanks to the Old Town creature that order prevailed – the alive did not enter the afterlife, and the dead did not return to the world. Żmij also protected against natural disasters, although he sometimes thundered himself when he was in a bad mood. It was worth living well with him.

Today, there is no trace of an oak grove or Żmij, although its image has adorned the walls of tenement houses for many years, and the name of Żmigród Street has been preserved to this day. Has he disappeared? Some people say that sometimes they can hear hissing and knocking in the Lublin Underground Trail. Could it be that Żmij still lives in the Old Town cellars and quietly guards the city and its inhabitants?

Do you need a professional city guide in Lublin? Check out our Guides of Inspiration and their tours!