If you have visited Kraków, Poland, then you have surely noticed the ubiquitous presence of the dragon symbol; from souvenirs to statues, it can be seen in every form, everywhere.
One of the most prominent representations of the dragon is the monument at the foot of the Wawel Hill called the Wavel Dragon Statue, which stands in front of the Wawel Dragon’s Den.
The dragon in question is known as Wawel Dragon or Smok Wawelski, and it’s a famous mythical creature in Polish Mythology and folklore. According to the legend, the Wavel Dragon lived in a cave at the foot of Wavel Hill on the banks of the Vistula River during the time of King Krakus ( the city’s mythical founder).
The dragon often terrorized local villagers, destroying their houses and eating up their daughters. In order to solve the problem, Krakus offered his daughter Wanda’s hand to any brave man who could defeat the dragon. A cunning cobbler named Skuba took up the challenge.
He stuffed a lamb with sulphur and left it near the dragon’s cave. The unwary beast devoured the bait, and soon after, its thirst became unbearable. In desperation, the dragon drank so much water from the River Vistula that he exploded. King Krakus then wed his daughter Wanda to the victorious Skuba.
The Wawel Dragon Statue was designed by the Polish sculptor Bronislaw Chormy. Even though the statue was completed in 1969, the date of the installation that is commonly mentioned in many sources is 1972. The sculptor himself once noted that he completed the statue in 1969, but it was not unveiled until 1972. Measuring 6 meters (20 ft), the bronze statue is a huge tourist attraction.
The early designs of the Wawel Dragon statue included a water fountain. However, after many rejected proposals involving this feature, the dragon was designed to breathe fire at five-minute intervals, using natural gas as fuel.
This feature was recently updated so that the fire breath can be triggered by an SMS message. The statue can breathe fire at a minimum of 15 seconds intervals. It should go without mention that the service is a huge attraction. The statue is often described as a traditional element of the modern Krakow landscape.