Wawel Dragon
Most Famous Polish Legend

06.10.2018

If you’re visiting Krakow or if you’re planning to, surely you must have heard about The Wawel Castle. But did you know that once upon a time there was a monster that prowled the underground of the castle?
That’s right! The monster was nothing else but a…  Wawel dragon! It scared the king, it scared the residents…

Are you ready for it to scare you?

Stay tuned and let me show you:

  • the legend of the Wawel Dragon
  • the place where the dragon lived and lives to this day
  • the history and location of the Wawel Dragon statue
  • some facts and trivia you may find interesting

Ready? Let’s go!

Wawel Dragon location

Where can you find the Wawel Dragon? It lives near the Wawel Castle in Krakow, right next to the Vistula River.

Wawel Dragon legend

The are a lot of versions of the legend, but there is one that is the most famous and frequently told.

wawel-dragon-smoczki

@bajbasia

Let’s begin!

Once upon a time, when King Krakus was reigning in Krakow and the Wawel Castle was his residence, people led calm, happy lives. But one day people heard strange noises from the underground of the castle and discovered that a dragon lived there!

The dragon was very hungry and demanded food from the residents. If they didn’t grant them with food, the dragon was simply devouring them. It created havoc everywhere. The whole city was terrified and begged the king for a solution.

King Krakus was scared as well and wanted to stop the madness. He was thinking for quite some time and came up with a competition – whoever defeats and kills the dragon will marry his daughter, princess Wanda and win the crown. 

A lot of brave men turned up to fight with the beast, but none of them succeeded. The dragon was becoming stronger and stronger and killed every daredevil that was on his way. People started thinking there was no hope for killing the monster.

wawel-dragon-history

An ilustration of the Wawel Dragon from the sixteenth century. Look how old the legend is!

 

And then Skuba, a poor shoemaker, came up with a trick. He decided to use the dragon’s gluttony. He took a sheep’s skin and filled it with hay and… sulphur. Skuba slipped the sheep to the dragon.

The beast ate the sheep. The sulphur made it so thirsty, that it ran to the Vistula river. It drank, and drank, and drank until it exploded!

The king kept his promise, Skuba married Wanda. And we can still admire the castle today.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find traces of the beast wandering around Wawel?

The Wawel Dragon Statue

Apart from the legend, there is one another token of the dragon – the Wawel Dragon Statue. It stands on the Wawel Hill, next to the Vistula River.

It was designed by Bronislaw Chromy and completed in 1969. In 1972 people decided to transport it to its current location, which isat the foot of the Wawel Hill in Kraków, in front of the Wawel Dragon’s den.

The statue is a standing dragon that is 6 metres (20 ft) tall and, most importanty, it breathes real fire! It’s possible due to its use of natural gas.

wawel-dragon-fire

The dragon breathing fire. Amazing! //source: Radio Kraków

 

wawel-dragon-statue

Beautiful statue. //source: Dziennik Polski

Wawel Dragon – a symbol of Krakow

The legend of a dragon is passed on to every Polish generation. Due to the popularity of the legend and the statue, the Krakow dragon became a symbol of the city.

The area of the Wawel Castle is strewn with gadgets with a dragon. If you want to buy a souvenir, you’ll probably see thousands of little dragons – stuffed toys, puppets, key rings, magnets, you name it!

Get one yourself!

wawel-dragon-toys

Buy your own dragon! //source: krakownaszemiasto.pl

Wawel Dragon – interesting facts

  • People think the dragon has one head, but it actually has six heads!
  • The legend was initially written by Wincenty Kadlubek – polish bishop and chronicler in the twelfth century
  • The dragon was supposed to stand in the waters of Vistula river, but it’s standing on a rock instead
  • You can “ask” the dragon to breathe fire – you just need to send a text message!

 

Visit the Wawel Dragon!

If you’re planning to visit Krakow, the Wawel Castle is an essential, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

The legend is one of a kind, visiting the statue is an amazing experience and the atmosphere is just incredible!

Don’t wait and visit this great beast!

Have you seen it yet? Or maybe you’re planning to? Let me know in the comments! 

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