The Wawel Dragon – a legend from the times of Krakow

The Wawel Dragon – a legendary beast from Krakow

There has been a long-standing legend that centuries ago the Wawel Dragon terrorized the inhabitants of Krakow, after which the name of our city was later derived – Krakow. The urban settlement developed wonderfully, the inhabitants, together with the king and his daughter Wanda, enjoyed a carefree life. Until the day when, according to legend, a large dragon appeared under the Wawel Hill. The beast decided to live in a cave under the Wawel Hill, disregarding the life and people in the city.

The monster lived in a pit, and the inhabitants had to provide it with cattle sacrifices. According to some legends, the beast only devoured virgins and spread fear among the inhabitants.

tower at the Wawel Castle

They tried to defeat him in many ways, there were many daredevils ready to tame the beast by force – but none of the knights managed to defeat him because his skin and scales were resistant to the arrows and swords of the daredevils attacking him. This was only achieved by a shoemaker named Skuba.

Legend has it that he stuffed a ram with sulfur and placed it in front of the dragon’s pit. The hungry monster devoured the lamb and thus fell into a clever trap set by Skuba. The sulfur made him feel a burning sensation in his throat. To quench his thirst, he drank water from the Vistula River – until he burst. There was great joy in the town, and the shoemaker became a hero.

The Wawel Dragon – a legendary figure that is still a symbol of the historic city of Krakow. The fairy-tale creature that lives under the Wawel Hill still has its monument on the boulevards in front of Wawel and attracts crowds of tourists. Next to the sculpture there is an entrance to the dragon’s pit, and a trip to this place is a must-see on the tourist map of Krakow. Today, a photo with a dragon is just entertainment, and the Wawel Dragon in this form is not scary at all.

Wawel Dragon

Dragon’s Den in Krakow

Right next to the monument there is the cave of the Wawel Dragon, the so-called Dragon’s Den. It is a rock cave that was created about 12 million years ago. Tourists can walk through the dragon’s pit on a route 81 meters long, although the entire formation is 270 meters long. The entrance to this attraction is located at the Thieves’ Tower, on the Wawel Hill.

Dragon remains at Wawel

On the Wawel Hill, at the entrance to the Cathedral, there are huge bones hanging, which, according to historical legends, belong to the Wawel dragon. The remains have been there almost forever, and their presence is confirmed by medieval writings. In 1937, Jagiellonian University professor Henryk Hoyer confirmed in his expert opinion that these were parts of the skeleton of a rhinoceros, a whale and a mammoth.

The Wawel Dragon, is it just a legend? Or is there some truth in the fact that some monster could have spread terror over the inhabitants of Krakow a long, long time ago?

wawel royal castle

Visiting Wawel with a guide

Online tickets to visit Wawel facilitate access to this historic complex. These places open the door to fascinating history for visitors. A guided tour can also enrich this journey, revealing not only architectural details, but also hidden nooks and crannies full of extraordinary stories.

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