To an adult, it’s simply a cave with three large chambers situated under Wawel Castle. It has an interesting history, like it was used as a public house in the 16th and 17th centuries, though the most interesting part is that it was the lair of the Wawel Dragon from Polish folklore!
The tale dates back to the 12th century; legend has it that the dragon would wreak havoc across the countryside, slaughtering people, devouring livestock and destroying homes. He was said to have a particular taste for young maidens. The people made an arrangement to appease the dragon, leaving a young girl at the mouth of his lair once a month in payment for leniency. After a time all but one young girl in the city was sacrificed to the dragon, Krakus’s (the King and founder of Krakow) daughter Wanda. The king commanded his most valiant knights to slay the dragon, though they were no match. In his desperation, the king even promised his daughter's hand to any who could defeat the dragon. Men from great distances traveled to fight the dragon and win Wanda’s hand, though all perished. One fall day a clever cobbler's apprentice had an idea and intervened. He stuffed a lamb with sulfur and left it at the mouth of the dragon’s lair, which was happily gobbled up by the dragon. He was then insatiably thirsty, rushing to the Vistula River to quench his thirst…drinking, and drinking, and drinking…until he burst! Even Wawel Cathedral has a statue commemorating the dragon’s defeat (by Krakus, not the cobbler’s apprentice)…so, it must be real!
These days the fire-breathing dragon is kept at the mouth of the cave and performs briefly (about 10 seconds brief) every 15 minutes.
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