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Dragon's Lair - the Wawel Cave in Krakow 

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  dragon by its lair in Krakow

Dragon's den: cave exploration in central Krakow. 

Tradition connects the beginnings of Krakow with one Prince Krak who rid his people of a dragon devouring both their stock and their virgins. For centuries a large, 200-foot-long natural cavern in the western rocky slope of the Wawel Hill above the Vistula (Wisla) river bank has been known as the monster’s den. Today the cave still attracts swarms of visitors. 

In fact, the Dragon’s Lair (Polish ‘Smocza Jama’) is the area’s oldest residence, inhabited by man from the Stone Age through the 16th century. 


Visiting the Dragon's Den 

Visitors can enter it via a turret of the west fortifications atop the Wawel Hill. There is a ticketing machine at the entrance but tickets to the 'Dragon's Lair' are also available at the Royal Castle's main box office. 

A long, spiral flight of steep stairs - 135 steps - takes visitors down to a succession of three chambers under the Wawel Hill. The staircase is a converted well of the 19th century. 

The underground route is just 80 meters in length. The second, largest cavern is 25 meters long and ten meters high. The place is well lit with electric lamps. 

Tourist can see only part of the 270-meter-long Wawel cave. The rest of it, including five underground ponds and narrow passages are too dangerous and off limits to visitors.   

The exit leads through the mouth of the cave situated next to the embankment upon the Wisla river. 


Fire-breathing monster. 

A bony life-size bronze sculpture of the Krakow Dragon stands on a boulder by the exit of the Dragon's Lair. Children's pet monster since its unveiling in 1972, the sinewy creature is the creation of Krakow's maverick artist Bronislaw Chromy. The sculpture spurts fire on demand via a SMS message. 

Tickets and opening hours of the Smocza Jama (Dragon's Lair). 

Regular ticket price to the DRAGON'S LAIR is less than one euro.
Open daily since May 1 through October from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.  

Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture.

Wawel Cathedral
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art.

Wawel Royal Castle
Home to three dynasties of Poland's monarchs. Its stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, best period furniture and rare ancient objects. The collection of the 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries is matchless.

Audience Hall
The Royal Castle's throne chamber has the most singular decor

The matchless collection of 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries.

Crown Treasury and Armory
The Crown Treasury shows Polish royal memorabilia, jewels and other precious items. The adjacent Armory displays 15th to 18th-century arms

Wawel Hill

The Wawel Hill is accessible to visitors daily since April through September from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. and since October through March from 6.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The Royal Castle's arcaded courtyard is off limits half an hour before the closing time. Exhibitions in the Royal Castle are closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, November 1 and November 11.

See the opening hours of the Royal Castle's permanent exhibitions and other attractions of the Wawel Hill in Krakow

The following are permanent exhibitions of the Wawel Royal Castle:
Royal Chambers - historical interiors, tapestry collection of Sigismund II Augustus, royal portraits, Italian Renaissance furniture, Italian and Dutch painting of the 14th to 17th century.
Crown Treasury and Armory - regalia, jewelry, precious weapons, armors and caparisons; Polish and West European.
Oriental Art - Turkish tents and banners, Turkish and Persian weapons and carpets, Chinese and Japanese ceramics.
The Lost Wawel - archaeological and architectural reserve of the early 11th-century church of St. St. Felix and Adauctus' with surroundings; objects excavated by archeologists on the Wawel Hill; ornate stove tiles of the 16th and 17th century. Plus multimedia presentation of the Wawel Hill's history.

Admission terms and fees might be subject to changes. For inquiries and booking please contact the Tourist Service Office (BOT), Wawel 5, 31-001 Krakow, Poland, tel.: (+48) 124225155 ext. 291, tel./fax: (+48) 124221697

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