Public Art Around The World

More Than Just The Plaque

Brno Dragon

Brno Dragon

Public Art: Brno Dragon

Artist: Unknown

Description: Ok, technically this enormous crocodile hanging from the ceiling isn’t really public art but it is worth a mention for its sheer tenacity of being suspended for so many years in order to perpetuate the myth of the Brno dragon. The Brno Dragon, according to legend, terrorized the city in the 11th century.

Date: Unknown

Location: The Brno Dragon is suspended from the ceiling inside the Old Town Hall, Brno, Czech Republic.

The Various Legends of the Brno Dragon:

Legend 1. Many centuries ago a dragon moved into a cave along the banks of the River Svratka and began terrorizing the townsfolk of Brno. No one dared venture into the town in fear of the beast. Eventually, a butcher took matters into his own hands by laying a bait laced with lime. After eating the feast, the dragon became thirsty and drank from the river. The water began to react to the lime and his belly got bigger and bigger until he burst. 

Legend 2. Many centuries ago a dragon began slaughtering the cattle in Brno and terrifying the townsfolk. The mayor offered a generous reward for its capture. No one was brave enough to take on the challenge except for a knight. He crept up to the dragon’s lair and placed a cup of poisoned water outside the entrance. After the dragon died he was hung from the ceiling at the entrance of the town hall.

Legend 3. The dragon was killed and stuffed by one of  Sir Albretcht of Trautenburg’s servants when they were establishing the town in the 11th century. When Prince Oldrich appointed his son as Margrave of Maravia the “dragon” was presented to the Prince as a gift from Sir Albetcht.

The Most Likely Explanations

The Brno is actually a Nile crocodile and was probably given to the city by the Hungarian King Mathias Corinus II in 1608. At the time he and his ailing brother, Emperor Rudolf II, were both fighting over the throne of the Holy Roman Empire. The gift was thought to be an attempt to win over the Protestants and the Moravian people. It just might have helped as he did become the Holy Roman Emperor in 1611.

The crocodile was brought back from one of their crusades.

It was a gift to the councilmen from a Turkish Sultan.

Acknowledgments: A special thank you to Silvie Bee for kindly providing the photographs.

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