Kraków Sightseeing

The Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski)

15 Mar 2018

Standing on the Wisła riverbank in the shade of Wawel Castle is a rather ugly likeness of the Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski), who - according to local legend - once reposed in the large cave behind him when not out and about in town scarfing up virgins and sheep. Finally vanquished when he was tricked into eating a bag of sulphur, this monument in his honour was unveiled in 1972 to a design by the local artist Bronisław Chromy. Extremely popular with the kids you'll find climbing all over it, it was once possible to send Smok an SMS which would send him into fits of fire-breathing bliss, however he now does it without checking his phone first, so just be patient and don't look down his throat.

Outside the entrance of Wawel Cathedral, you may also notice an odd collection of massive bones chained up on the left outside the entrance. While legend obviously purports these to be the bones of Wawel’s fearsome dragon, more conventional wisdom has claimed they might be parts belonging to a blue whale, woolly mammoth, rhinoceros, or all three. At any rate, they haven’t been removed and inspected for centuries due to their magical properties, which are credited with protecting the city from destruction during centuries of Polish partition and particularly during WWII when almost every other major city in Poland got pancaked.



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