Wszstykie krasnalowe: all the female dwarfs

One of Wrocław's many dwarfish citizens.

One of Wrocław’s many dwarfish citizens, looking for someone to share his ice cream with.

When I first moved to Wrocław, right away I noticed the dwarves: sitting on windowsills, hanging from lampposts, swimming in fountains. Part delightful whimsy, part tourist attraction, the dwarves are little statues that are placed all over the city— and their numbers are slowly increasing. Some are sponsored by the city, some are privately owned— they’re indoors, outdoors, in the train station, malls, botanical gardens, chilling around Rynek, hanging out in shops, drinking in front of bars.

While Wrocław has a number of dwarvish citizens, only a few are women. Most of the dwarves are dudes. And so in honor of being single on Valentine’s Day, I present: all the single lady dwarves of Wroclaw. Also, after reading about the dwarf statues, I realized that they have a political side: the first dwarf in Wrocław was placed there to commemorate the Orange Alternative, as dwarves were their symbol. That’s an organization which is part of the movement around Solidarity, Poland’s famous union which resisted the Communist government in the early 1980s.

I think what really caught my attention with the female dwarves is that there were women dwarves at all— and then, how few of them there are. On my official Wroclaw dwarf-hunting map, only two of the dwarves were women— out of a total of 79 dwarves. A more recent, possible unofficial map shows 211 dwarves, with just five lady dwarves. But my map is already out of date, as the official website now lists over 300 dwarves— with only 11 women.

However, not all of the dwarves have photos, and since some of the statues have been stolen, some dwarves come in pairs or trios, and given the general natural of little folk, I’m not at all surprised it’s hard to keep an accurate count. (The kid in me likes to think they could come alive at night…)

Wrocław’s female dwarves are also a bit prettier than their male counterparts, most of them younger and shapelier. They do all sport the pointy dwarf shoes, though. On the other hand, I’m not sure how else you would identify them as female, if they weren’t curvy or had long hair. But the male dwarves certainly know who the women are: a tongue in cheek article on the original dwarf website talks about how hard the male dwarves try to win the heart’s of the krasnalowe. (Also, it lists only five dwarves— now that number is doubled.)

So far, I’ve found ten single lady dwarves:

miss delicious best

1. Miss Delicious (Panna Pychotka): She’s inside a grocery store, on 43 ul. Sądowa. It was quite an adventure to track her down— the first time I went by the store, it was closed, so I had to go back a second time. Those sneaky dwarves!

MarzenkaEDIT

2. Marzenka: She hangs out in the children’s hospital on ul. Bujwida, Clinic of Hematology and Oncology. I think she’s put there to cheer children up. She’s also the one that looks the most dwarf-like to me, short and a bit squat. (The slender train conductor looks particularly not-dwarfish to my eyes.) In true dwarfish fashion, she’s hard to photograph as well. To get inside the hospital, you need to know a bit of Polish to sweet talk your way past the security guard (or have a friend do the talking for you!) I’m pretty surprised they put this one on the map— I mean, why send tourists wandering toward a children’s hospital?

Krasnalica, the train conductor, at the main train station, Wrocław Główny.

Krasnalica, the train conductor, at the main train station, Wrocław Główny.

3. Krasnalica, the train conductor, at Wrocław Główny, the main train station. She’s one of several dwarves in and around the train station— one is pulling his luggage, one snoozes on the lawn, another sits perched on top of a suitcase. She also has the honor of being the first lady dwarf I spotted!

best

4. Urzędusia the stamper (Stempelka): A bureaucrat dwarf, she’s outside the Urząd Wojewódzki building on plac. Powstańców Warszawy, ready with her stamp for your paperwork. This one really threw me, as most dwarves are in fairly touristy areas. Unless you’re attempting to apply for a work or residence permit, most foreigners don’t wander close to here. Considering how grim this gigantic, monumental Nazi-era building is, I am surprised that someone had the whimsy to put a dwarf here. But I admit, she does cheer me up after a long wait in line.

beer hall dwarf copy

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5. Bawarka the Bavarian beer dwarf: She’s in Rynek over the BierHalle entrance, happily serving up pints. She’s a nifty counterpart to the OK Wine Bar dwarf, who’s holding a bottle bigger than he is.

new lady dwarf

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6. Zikusia the pharmacist dwarf:  Ziko at ul. Świdnicka 48. I like to joke that’s she’s passing out birth control, but I doubt that’s what she’s holding.

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Marysia Pięknisia

7. Marysia Pięknisia: She holds a mirror, in front of the skin-care treatment center Bagłaj on ul. Widok 8. While I was annoyed at her holding a mirror (women are superficial!) it made a bit more sense when I realized what business had sponsored this statue.

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best lady runner trotter

8. Truchnia, the runner: I just love her pointy running shoes and pigtails. She’s jogging in front of the Run 4 Life store on Krupnicza, near Rynek. I sometimes switch up which trams I take to work so I can ride past this statue.

seamstress Anka

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9. Anka, the seamstress: In front of a wedding dress shop, ul Sokolnicza 7/17, past pl. Plac Jana Pawła II. I love how someone draped thread on her sewing machine. Also, she looks a bit like she could be Marysia’s sister.

Clara

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10. Clara, primping in front of the Kosmetyczne Centrum Szkoleniowe ul. Kleczkowska 45. This is the second female dwarf connected with cosmetics of some sort (sigh) but for such a feminine-looking dwarf, she choose an interesting place to hang out. The street she’s on could qualify for “least scenic in Wrocław.”

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Image via Wikpedia.

Image via Wikpedia.

The ProLine Venus dwarf really surprised me. I mean, she’s completely naked, and far, far more abstract than any of the other dwarves. I would expect to see her in an archeology museum— like the Venus of Willendorf in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Venus figures are the oldest representations of the human form, and called “Venus” because they’re believed to be a type of fertility charm. The ProLine dwarf is a dead ringer for the Venus of Willendorf— well, except for the pointy dwarf hat, of course.

The Venus de Willendorf, at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.

The Venus de Willendorf, at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.

Full disclosure: this dwarf snuck away from me, as I couldn’t find her. Both the official dwarf website and Wikipedia say she’s in a laptop shop called ProLine, on Kazimierza Wielkiego. Sadly, the laptop shop has moved, and a Rossman’s is now in it’s place. And neither the Rossman’s or the new laptop location seem to have the dwarf. Update: I asked at the laptop shop, and the owner took her to the other store in the suburb Mirków. 

Two things: I haven’t included female dwarves who are part of couples, though there are a number of couples (that’s another post!) Also, if you’re interested in seeing what the male dwarves are up to, check out my Flickr album (my favorites are the dwarf eating ice cream and the one reading.)

And, whether single or coupled, have a great Valentine’s Day!

A final note: the number of dwarves in Wrocław is always changing… so by the time you read this, there just might be more krasnalowe. Happy dwarf hunting!

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One response to “Wszstykie krasnalowe: all the female dwarfs

  1. We really enjoyed our time in Wroclaw, and the dwarves were one of the fun highlights. Once the game was afoot, our search took us into parts of the city that we probably wouldn’t normally have seen. These are fantastic pieces of public art. ~James

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