Hours and Tickets

23 Apr. - 31 Oct.

open daily
July, August

10:00 am-7:00 pm

September, October

10:00 am-5:00 pm

admission: 5,00 PLN

sale: at ticket offices or in the ticket machine at the entrance; tickets are sold until 15 mins. before closing time

You enter the cave by climbing down a narrow, steep, spiral staircase (135 steps descending 70 feet). One-way visiting route only - exit on the Vistula bank

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Dragon's Den

The Dragon’s Den, a legendary cave in the western slope of Wawel Hill, is surely one of its great curiosities. The cave formed nearly 12 million years ago as a result of karst development in the Jurassic limestone.
Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

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Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

Exploring the cave’s murky caverns, filled with mysterious niches and fissures, is an unforgettable experience.  The cave is 270 meters long, of which 81 meters are open to the public. The visit begins at the foot of the Thieves’ Tower. Visitors descend a staircase housed in a brick tower (a former Austrian well).
Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

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Seasonal route

Dragon’s Den

Until the 19th century, the first and the lowest-lying chamber was filled with water which was used to supply Wawel’s buildings.
Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

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Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

At its highest point, the next and largest chamber is covered with a brick dome constructed in 1830. It was built to close up the natural entrance through which historian Ambroży Grabowski entered the cave in 1829. In the 17th and the 18th centuries, part of this chamber was used for storage and as a banquet room by a tavern located the Vistula riverbank near the cave’s lower entrance.
Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

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Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

The last cavern, which features rock projections, blind shafts, and karstic fissures, was once the tavern’s main room. Its vault is reinforced by a set of brick pillars.
Seasonal route

Dragon’s Den

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Seasonal route

Dragon's Den

The cave exits onto the Vistula boulevard next to The Wawel Dragon, a 1972 sculpture by Bronisław Chromy.
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Dragon’s Den

The oldest version of a legend about the dragon of Wawel, related to the mythic beginning of Cracow, can be found in the Chronicle of Master Vincent called Kadlubek (from the turn of the 13th century):
”In the tun nels of a certain rock there lived an immensely dreadful monster, whom some used to call the whole-eater. Every week his voracity called for a fixed number of cattle. If the settlers had not supplied the cattle (as sacrificial beasts) they would be punished by losing the equivalent number of human heads. Grakch [Cracus] could not tolerate the shame of this [...] and he secretly called his sons, told them of his intention and presented a solution [...] To which they answered: [...] ‘It is you who has the power to give orders, and we are here to obey’.
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Dragon’s Den

"Having experienced many, and generally futile, skirmishes, they were forced to use deception. In the place of the cattle they put cattle’s skins stuffed with ignited sulphur. And when the whole-eater swallowed it with great appetite, he suffocated from the outburst of an internal fire. Immediately after this, the younger brother attacked and killed the older, his partner in victory and in the kingdom, treating him not as a companion but as a competitor. He lied that it was the monster who was guilty of the killing, and his father happily accepted him as a winner. Thus the younger Cracus succeeded his father, benefiting from his crime! But he was tainted with fratricide longer than he was awarded with power. Soon after, the deceit came to light, and as punishment for his deed, he was banished forever[...]”
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Dragon’s Den

”And it was indeed on the rock of the whole-eater that the famous city was soon established, named Cracovia from Cracus’ name, to commemorate him forever. The funeral ceremony finished only when the city was completed. Some named it Cracow because of the crowing of the crows, who flew in attracted by the carcass of the monster.”

Jan Dlugosz changed this version of the legend by writing that it was King Cracus himself who killed the dragon. At the end of the 16th century Joachim Bielski introduced the character of a sly cobbler Skuba to the legend, and this is the most popular version nowadays.
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Dragon’s Den

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