The history of Trutnov is intimately bound with dragons, as even the shortest term visitor will notice. Dragons adorn businesses throughout the city center and comprise some of the city’s most prominent statues. Depending on the time of year, you may even be lucky enough to see one hoisted from city hall.
According to local legend, in 1006, shortly after Trutnov was founded, two stonecutters stumbled upon a dragon’s den while searching the woods for building materials. They rushed back to town and informed a local knight, Lord Albrecht von Trautenberg. Although he was skeptical of their story, he went to investigate it for himself, bringing with him several men from the town armed with rope nooses to capture the beast. Using a lamb as bait, they lured the dragon from its lair and were able to subdue it before suffocating it to death with smoke. The dragon was then skinned, stuffed, and hung in the town square.
In thanks to Lord Albrecht, the new city was supposedly named in his honor (Trautenau), and was later adapted into Czech as ‘Trutnov’. Legend also has it that the stuffed dragon was gifted to Brno, and continues to hang in its city hall.
Every year in the first weekend of May, the residents of Trutnov commemorate the slaying of the dragon in a ceremony called Už ho nesou (“They are already carrying him”), in which a tin dragon is symbolically hoisted up onto the facade of the city hall in the main square, where it remains until September or October. The ceremony itself is accompanied by a large public festival with food, drinks, and medieval costumes. Outsiders are rare, but are more than welcome.
Know Before You Go
Trutnov is accessible by train (with transfers) from Prague (3 hours), Liberec (3 hours) or Hradec Králové (1-2 hours), or by bus from Prague's Černý Most bus station (2 hours). The main square is a 10-minute walk from the train or bus station.
Direct trains also connect Trutnov to the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks via Adršpach station, making it convenient to combine both sites in a single trip. Trains between Trutnov and Adršpach take 45 minutes and run every 2 hours.