Gdański Lew Hewelion - Atlas Obscura

Gdański Lew Hewelion

Gdańsk's lion mascot features in a trail of bronze sculptures scattered all across the city. 

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The story of Poland’s trails of small sculptures probably started with the now famous Dwarves of Wrocław, which number around 250 and first appeared in the early 2000s. Gdańsk’s own take on the trend is represented by Hewelion, the city’s lion mascot.

The choice of animal came from the two lions that appear on the city’s coat of arms, while the name Hewelion is influenced by Jan Heweliusz (also known as Johannes Hevelius), a renowned 17th-century astronomer and a  Gdańsk native. Hewelion’s first sculptures popped up in the mid-2010s, and they are the work of Tomas Radziewicz. Each lion represents the area where it is located or a specific feature in its vicinity.

Near an important theater, you will find him doing his best thespian, ruffled collar and skull included. At the airport, he is dressed as an aviator, while the city’s storied port area along the Motława River features him in a sailor outfit. With the two existing trails of the dwarves and Hewelion, Poland seems to have embraced the trend, as now Krakow has a proposal of its own that would consist of dragon sculptures.

Know Before You Go

The 15 Hewelions are spread throughout the city, about half of them can be found in the historic center. The others are located in tourist attractions of the outer neighborhoods, such as the airport (marked in the map) and Stadion.

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