Dragon-slaying pageant, Furth
Dragon-slaying pageant, Furth © Der Drachenstich

Furth's dragon-slaying pageant: Germany's oldest folk play

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. Furth's dragon-slaying festival, a spectacle that attracts tens of thousands of visitors, traditionally begins in the second week in August.

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.

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2014.1.8 - 2014.17.8

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