This paper explores the relations between the centre and the peripheries drawing on examples from war narratives and accounts from Warsaw suburban region. Narratives analyzed here belong all to ‘grassroot’ history (private diaries, monographies by non-professional historians, books published by small, local editorial presses, websites run by local institutions, visual symbols in towns’ space). Main problems addressed in the article are: are the centre and the suburbs described as binary oppositions or rather in terms of gradation? Do the narrators use the strategy of ‘mimicry’ or rather the one of ‘rebellion’ towards the centre? The paper concludes with pointing out three metaphors, which provide patterns to the centre–periphery relations in analyzed region: Warsaw as a volcano, as an empty circle and as a mountain or tower casting a long shadow.