Krakow’s Fire-Breathing Dragon Statue

The Wawel Dragon Statue (Smok Wawelski)

This statue really does breathe fire!

The legend of the Krakow Dragon

The dragon of Krakow has been famous for hundreds of year- with its legend delighting both locals and visitors alike. Long story short- a fire-breathing dragon in Krakow was eating up all the local livestock, but had a special fondness for young maidens too! So the ruler at that time, King Krak, had a problem- after putting a call out to the world that whoever could come and defeat the dragon would have his daughter Wanda’s hand in marriage, warriors came from all over. None were successful in defeating the dragon, until one day, a young shoe-maker named Skuba came to town. Skuba decided instead of using a weapon to defeat the dragon, he would use some trickery. So he wrapped a bag of sulfur in lambskin and wool. The dragon of course, thinking that it was a real sheep, ate the trap and developed quite the case of heartburn! He jumped down into the Vistula River and began to drink the entire body of water! But before he could finish- he EXPLODED!

The Fire-Breathing Krakow Dragon Statue

Now, to honor the dragon, or perhaps its defeat, you can visit a real fire-breathing dragon in Krakow daily!

The dragon sculpture was built in 1969, but installed here in Krakow a few years later in 1972. The artist Bronisław Chromy created this masterpiece out of bronze, with a huge limestone boulder as a base. The entire statue comes in at 20 feet or 6 meters tall!

For a while, you had to text the statue to get it to breathe fire, but now that is no longer the case. Just wait about 5-10 minutes and you should see it breathe fire at least once! Of course this is a great thing for kids in Krakow- but it really is quite magnificent, so I recommend it for all travelers.

How to Visit the Dragon Statue in Krakow

If you are in Krakow, you have a few options for how to visit the statue. You can go to the edge of the castle, towards the river, and peer over the side- so that you see the dragon from above; or you can go down to the riverfront and be at the base of the statue. In summer, you have one more option- which is to enter the castle grounds and find the Dragon’s Den! Just behind the Thieves’ Tower, is an entrance to the actual caves under Wawel. They’re only about 12 million years old! And of course were once home to the dragon himself. It’s a small entrance fee, and doesn’t take long, but once you’re through the Den, the exit spits you out right at the statue.

Come on a free walking tour with me! 

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