When a Croatian dragon moves its tail…

Have you heard the ancient Croatian legend about Daenerys and her three little cute dragons? Of course you haven’t – this legend doesn’t exist, those are actually characters from the HBO show “Game of Thrones”. But, in this post, I would like to present to you both stories – the “Game of Thrones” dragons, but also one “original” dragon, particularly interesting for us in Zagreb these days…

This article is part of our April 2020 section “Croatian Thursday”. Every Thursday we present one aspect of our history, culture and traditions… This April 2020 all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online, with…

Now, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you know already the show was partially filmed in Dubrovnik (check posts here and here). Hardcore fans would know that the walls of Dubrovnik were not the only Croatian sight where the show was filmed. Some of the central scenes related to dragons were filmed in the region of Split, second Croatian biggest city.

In fact, Daenerys kept her dragons in the very center of the city! Underneath, to be exact – in the basements of Diocletian’s palace, a palace built by the roman emperor Diocletian, around 4th century A.D. which today partially forms the old town of Split.

diokletian_palace

Basements of the Diocletian’s palace. Photo: Alecconnell. You can visit the basements – check the timetables and ticket prices on the site of the Museum of Split, as they change depending on the season of your visit.

The basements of the palace were prominently featured in seasons 4 and 5, like in this clip right here from the HBO series, “when the dragons attack”:

From time to time, you can find a small dragon in the Palace, reminding us that the series was filmed there…

dragonDiocletian’s Palace, 2019. My photo.

But, as I said, those are HBO dragons in Split and Dubrovnik, cities by the coast. In the continental part of the country, we have our own dragon, right here in Zagreb, Croatian capital, in the settlement of Kašina…

dnd_dragon

According to a story, there is a dragon that sleeps under Kašina and when he wakes up he moves its tail and the Earth starts shaking. If we believe these folk tales, it’s exactly what happened when we had a big earthquake in the city of Zagreb and a series of smaller ones. As I’m presenting this post, it’s been more than two weeks since that 22 of March of 2020. For us, it was a shock, not just because of an earthquake, but because it happened during this COVID-19 epidemic. (Check the article Zagreb #stayinside exceptionally #stayoutside).

The epicenter was some 3 km from Kašina, the place where the story about the dragon comes from. That’s no surprise, as people have forever created stories to explain a natural phenomenon, so it’s no wonder that ground-shaking became “a dragon moving its tail”. However, although we know that in theory an earthquake can happen in the area around Zagreb and although we have these “dragon-stories”, we were a bit surprised – the last big earthquake happened 140 years ago. I guess it’s not everyday “a dragon moves its tail”. Let’s just hope the dragon is now back to sleep…

This article is part of our April 2020 section “Croatian Thursday”. Every Thursday we present one aspect of our history, culture and traditions… This April 2020 all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online, with…

 

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