Fire alert! Dragons around the world

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We bloomin’ love dragons, even if they are fictional entities representing demonic forces that vie with our more virtuous qualities, because they breathe fire and that.

We adored the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, and to celebrate the release of the sequel (cleverly named How to Train Your Dragon 2), we thought we’d take a look at some dragons, both factual and fictional, around the world.

Just about every culture has some form of dragon story, and the popular theory for this is that our atavistic ancestors all had the same naïve assumptions when they came across dinosaur bones.

The ideas about fire though, that’s probably just due to all the mushrooms Cro-Magnon man was eating.

Vietnam

Dragon Bridge, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
Dragon Bridge, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam. Photo: Gary Cycles

The enchanting area of Ha Long Bay to the east of Hanoi is renowned for the unusual rock formations that make up the huge area.

According to legend, these are the remnants of dragons that came down to help protect the Vietnamese from invading forces. “Ha Long” actually means “descending dragon”.

This bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam’s third biggest city, shows how much the country loves their dragons.

Bavaria

The massive dragon in the video holds the title for world’s largest walking robot.

It’s also possibly the slowest. Imagine if the thing had to actually fly as well – it’s probably heavier than a private jet.

Australia

A spotted tree goanna (Varanus Scalarus) in Australia.
A spotted tree goanna (Varanus Scalarus) in Australia. Photo: Jon Clark

Even in the Dreamtime they have dragons, but this aboriginal Australian idea may have come about from all the goannas that run around the huge country.

They come in various sizes, with the largest being the perentie variety – it can reach up to 2.5 metres in length.

Indonesia

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. Photo: Adhi Rachdian

Similar to the goanna, is the Komodo dragon, another massive reptile that stalks around Indonesia and other nearby countries flicking its forked tongue at things.

Palestine, Turkey, Georgia, Great Britain, etc etc

Saint George and the Traffic Light. The statue at the United Nations in New York.
Saint George and the Traffic Light. The statue at the United Nations in New York. Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman

Saint George (or St Jawj, as patriotic English people like to call him) is one of the most popular Palestinians in history. The legend that he slew a dragon is a cult favourite in many countries, not least Georgia which named itself after their hero, and Moscow where George is depicted on their coat of arms.

Nobody is sure in which country he’s supposed to have actually fought this dragon, although English people suspect it must have been on the border with Wales – the dragon was probably sent over by Merlin the wizard.

George spent most of his life in the Roman Empire’s Christian army so the dragon was probably just a metaphor for all opposing pagan forces.

Poland

The Wawel Dragon statue at Wawel Castle by Bronisław Chromy
The Wawel Dragon statue at Wawel Castle by Bronisław Chromy. Photo: Guillaume Speurt

This fire-breathing statue sits outside Wawel Castle in Krakow.

The castle was supposedly built on top of a dragon’s lair. It was slain after being tricked into eating sulphur – it tried to sooth its belly by drinking up half the Vistula River and it burst.

Egypt

A Nile dragon just soaking up the sun.
A Nile dragon just soaking up the sun. Photo: Tambako The Jaguar

Nile crocodiles can grow up to 18 feet long (that’s the same length as a Rolls-Royce Phantom, fact fans), and they’ve always managed to give anybody within eyeshot the heeby-jeebies.

Could they be why the Egyptians had dragons in their mythology?

Obviously, the theory that dragons came through the Stargate along with all the other aliens is more plausible, but still.

London

In olden times there were seven gates to the City of London. They're long gone, but marked today by statues of dragons.
In olden times there were seven gates to the City of London. They’re long gone, but marked today by statues of dragons. Photo: Barney Moss

The entrance to the City of London, the small borough at the centre of England’s capital, is guarded by dragon statues.

This is to let everybody know that, within the boundaries of this area’s financial machinations, here be dragons.

Search flights to London

China

In legend, Chinese dragons control fearsome forces such as water, rainfall, hurricane and floods
In legend, Chinese dragons control fearsome forces such as water, rainfall, hurricane and floods. Photo: Luke Price

Dragons are almost ubiquitous in China, usually as long-bodied beasts referred to as “feilong”.

They’re associated with strength and power, so were often used in depictions of emperors and lords.

California

 At the Desert State Park in California lie dragons and dinosaurs and other long-extinct animals, sculpted by Ricardo A. Breceda.

At the Desert State Park in California lie dragons and dinosaurs and other long-extinct animals, sculpted by Ricardo A. Breceda. Photo: Harry Pherson

Hippies in the desert love dragons too.

Check out the trailer for How To Train Your Dragon 2


(Featured image: Alias 0591)

Fire alert! Dragons around the world was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Adam Zulawski