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Germany's Oldest Folk Spectacle: Slaying of the Dragon

The Drachenstich (Slaying of the Dragon) festival is Germany's oldest and one of the most impressive traditional folk spectacles, held every August in Furth im Wald in the Bavarian Forest.

Dating back 500 years, the event includes a re-enactment of the slaying of a dragon that threatened the town in the middle ages. Furth im Wald is therefore known as the City of Dragons and the history of the little town is full of legends and rituals. This year's Slaying of the Dragon will take place from August 5 to 21, 2016.

In the Bavarian Forest near the German-Czech border, a fearsome dragon menaces the small town of Furth. But fortunately, year after year, the valiant locals confront and eventually manage to slay it.

The pageant's origins date right back to 1590 when slaying the dragon was part of the Corpus Christi procession. Later it became a separate event and was given a regular date in the summer. Over time the pageant has been sensitively modernised and updated.

The dragon-slaying is enacted ten times or so during the festival, a feat involving some 1,400 participants, around 250 horses and all manner of props from wagons to cannons. But there's no doubt that the real star is the new dragon that has dominated the stage since 2010. It really is a monster, the biggest walking robot in the world, weighing eleven tonnes, standing 4.5 metres tall and measuring over 15 metres in length. Its top speed is 1.5 kilometres an hour; it roars, breathes fire and smoke and has a 16-metre wingspan.

There's also an exciting programme of pageant activities: shooting, a medieval market, bird of prey displays, a grand historical procession and a traditional German volksfest with a beer garden and funfair.

History of the festival

  • The battle of Domazlice (German: Taus) in 1431, the city of Furth im Wald and the angle behind the Hohenbogen form the historical background of the "Further Dragon slaying".
  • The festival is a vibrant cross-section through the simple life of the people in the Middle Ages.
  • Performances by about 350 people in the festival, which are all from the Further population.
  • The old dragon Further: He died in 2009 for the last time.
  • The new Further dragon: Since 2010, joins the new high-tech Dragon "Tradinno" with huge paws in an ancient tradition.

More Dragon Information

Learn more about the Drachenstich

Dragon Cave

German Dragon Museum

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May 23 2016

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