Entering Germany’s dragon den on a robot

FURTH IM WALD, GERMANY – For 500 years, this tiny Bavarian town has staged an annual performance of the story of St. George slaying the dragon that has grown from a humble religious procession into a spectacular event that today features the world’s largest walking robot.

On the day I had come to this medieval German town near the Czech border to witness this event, it was grey and rainy. The show would go on, despite the weather, but the thought of spending two and half hours sitting in the rain didn’t sound like fun.

Prior to the start of the show, I visited some of the sights in the town related to the performance. The Drachenhöhle is a museum that explains the long history of the St. George play known as Drachenstich that is staged here each August. It displays old photos from years gone by, antique costumes and models showing how the gigantic dragon robot was built. It also explains how it began as part of the annual Corpus Christi procession, but broke off from the church in the 19th-century as a secular event.

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Photos: Experiencing the traditions of eastern Bavaria

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in eastern Bavaria in Germany with the help of the National German Tourist Office to experience many of the region’s culinary and cultural traditions. Here is a photographic tour of the highlights.