Travel

There Is A Dragon’s Lair In The Middle Of Krakow

And they have the bones to prove it.

1. In the early 14th century when the city of Kraków, Poland looked something like this, there lived an evil dragon named Smok Wawelski who terrorized the city.

2. The dragon* lived in a limestone cave hidden beneath the slopes of Wawel Hill, where the King’s castle rested.

*Note the dragon pictured above is a Hungarian Horntail, not Smok. Unfortunately the GIF technology in 14th century Poland was not what it is today.

3. You can see why Smok wanted to live here.

4. It’s a pretty sweet cave.

5. A hidden gem, some would say.

Actual limestone cave below Wawel Castle.

6. Believe it or not, according to legend the dude who ended up slaying Smok was just a simple shoemaker named Dratewka, who stuffed a dead ram with sulfur and put it at the mouth of the Smok’s lair.

7. Smok ate the sulfur-stuffed ram which made him very thirsty. So he drank from the Vistula River* to quench his thirst, and then proceeded to explode because he drank so much water (obviously.)

Shutterstock

*Actual Vistula River, not an actual dragon.

8. The dragon was dead, and the villagers* rejoiced.

Warner Brothers

*Not the actual villagers.

9. Fast forward 800 years, and you too can see the bones of Smok the dragon, which now hang outside the entrance to the Wawel Catherdral.

Anna Lurye / http://Shutterstock

11. Okay you got us, these aren’t “actual” dragon bones. Instead they are thought to be fossilized whale or mammoth bones, though legend still holds that these are the mythical bones of Smok.

12. Even now the story of Smok lives on. In 1970 a metal sculpture of the Wawel Dragon, designed by Bronisław Chromy was placed in front of the dragon’s den.

Malgorzata Kistryn / Shutterstock

13. RIP Smok*, you thirsty dragon.

HBO

*Not actually Smok.

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