The Dragon's Lair

As you ascend the stairs to Wawel Cathedral, you may notice a curious selection of bones that are chained to the wall on your left. One of these looks as if it might have come from the rib-cage of a blue whale. The other, an ancient, snout-like relic, is even more fantastical in its appearance. If you are puzzled as to the provenance of these objects, then do not fear. For enlightenment can be found embedded in the western defense wall above the river. There one finds an eighteenth century plaque, and it reads as follows:

KRAKUS, A POLISH PRINCE
RULED AD 730-750.
HERE IS THE CAVE
IN WHICH HAVING KILLED THE WILD DRAGON
HE SETTLED AT WAWEL, AND FOUNDED THE CITY OF CRACOW. THIS INSCRIPTION WAS MADE BY STANISLAS JABLONOWSKI, PRINCE OF PRUSSIA AND CAPTAIN OF THE POLISH ARMY ARTILLERY

A dragon-slayer, no less, who killed a monster and ascended the throne of Cracow. It is a legend that remains amongst the best-loved in Poland. The entrance to this beast's lair can be found at the westernmost point of Wawel Hill, and it commands a fine view over the Vistula. From here you descend a dizzying flight of steps, after a hundred or so of which the temperature suddenly drops, setting the tone nicely for the job at hand - the slaying of the infernal dragon.

The caves below are dank and mysterious, a suitable backdrop for such chivalrous adventures. However, if there are some who would prefer an unassailable historical reason for investigating the place, then they too are in luck. For the caves did receive a second incarnation. During the seventeenth century, to the delight of many aristocratic adventurers, both an inn and a brothel were to be found here. It is claimed that kings themselves distinguished the chambers with their presence. A most agreeable distraction to be sure.

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Heraldo from Brazil Reply Nov 16th, 2013

My daughter loved it

Lu from United Kingdom Reply Jul 3rd, 2013

Wow! Even UK attraction pages don't use this kind of posh language to present their treasures. You may consider simplier language for all potential users of the page to understand, not only natives;)

from United States Reply Feb 15th, 2013

dragons are awsome

Salvador Hurtado from Mexico Reply Oct 22nd, 2012

When I was much younger I was fascinated by dragon-lore and dragons! My girlfriend N.Slawinska (fron Cracow)fascinated me with this tale. However, now that I'm 40 I tend to find greater allure in the other story (about the Inn and brothel), funny how one changes...

Lev Zilbermintz from United States Reply Oct 15th, 2012

My ancestors were Polish Jews. However, it has been more than 200 years since my family lived in Poland. Fascinating stuff!!

Lev Zilbermintz from United States Reply Oct 15th, 2012

My ancestors were Polish Jews. However, it has been more than 200 years since my family lived in Poland. Fascinating stuff!!

elena from Burma Reply Mar 31st, 2010

dis is boring

Katie from United Kingdom Reply Jan 29th, 2010

Can't wait to meet the Cracow dragon! I'm coming with my parents in May! I read about the whole story at school. I love dragon stories!

Jablonovszki from Romania Reply Oct 29th, 2009

My ancestors

amy from United States Reply Jul 31st, 2009

I love this story! One of the best!

Marika from United Kingdom Reply Oct 20th, 2008

this is very goog website for people who like legends!

Whitney from United States Reply Aug 21st, 2008

We had a great guide by the name of Dennis McEvoy (of Krakow) who showed us around - I HIGHLY recommend him. He was great!

sarah from United States Reply Aug 15th, 2008

sweet.

asia from United Kingdom Reply Feb 16th, 2008

this is the nicest think i ever seen in my life look after it forever .......