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Smocza Jama (Dragon's Cave)
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Ranked #74 of 306 things to do in Krakow
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This is a legendary cave in the western slope of Wawel Hill. The oldest version of a legend about the dragon of Wawel, related to the mythic beginning of Krakow, comes from the turn of the 13th century.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

This was a way you could exit castle, nothing special to be honest and I noticed people had to pay to go out this way but we had this attraction free because I paid for 4 other attractions in the castle. Small cave will not take long to walk through and when you come out there is a statue of a dragon, not worth paying for.

1  Thank Rainbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 - 86 of 221 reviews

Reviewed June 6, 2013

We decided to do this as we left the castle complex as you basically go in at the top of the hill and come out at the bottom by the river. It's very interesting and certainly a must see if you have children. When you leave the cave and come out by the river, the statue of Smok awaits you and it was - while we were there - constantly swamped by children climbing up onto the rock (or often being lifted up) to have their photo taken with Smok the dragon - I had to wait 40mins for the crowds to clear enough to get a photo of the whole dragon without parts of him being obscured (notably, there were also some adult children who also wanted their photos taken with the legendary dragon of Krakow). The story goes that the dragon lived under the hill and terrorised the people so the king offered his daughter's hand in marriage to the brave knight who could kill the beast. As is always the case in fairy tales, no knight could complete the task and then one day a humble tradesman (I forget whether he was a shoemaker or baker or...) came to the king and said that he believed that he could defeat the dragon. Long story short, he stuffed a fake sheep with (sulphur?), planted it outside the dragon's cave and then the dragon ate it and blew up and everyone else lived happily ever after. Anyway, the statue reputedly breathes fire (I've seen pictures in the guidebooks) but we were there over an hour and didn't see any sign of life, which was a little disappointing, but certainly worth a visit - especially if you have children.

1  Thank traosb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

I've been there when I was a child, and then - yeah, all story about the dragon, and this cave.. It was something. But as an adult, I know it's nothing special (; just a cave.. So, I will rank it as very good, but only for children and with a guide!!!

1  Thank Lilia N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

it's really nothing special. the 'tour' wont take you more than 2 min. It's really nothing - I am surprised they categorized this as a separate 'place to visit'

Thank LAtrotamundo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

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.

4  Thank IchBesorgeDasBier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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