Are you a mythology enthusiast? Then you must be familiar with the Romanian mythical monsters. No need to mention Transylvania vampires, right? But how about the Romanian dragons? Even though they are often confused with the zmeu or balaur, Romanian dragons have their own story and features. Moreover, some of them were even mentioned in Harry Potter! Ever wonder why is Romania magical? Too many reasons for that. However, dragons are one of them. Join Kiara to “the other land” and be part of the story!

Romanian dragons in Sighisoara
Romanian dragon outside Vlad Tepes House via Pinterest

Are Romanian dragons evil?

Remember the balaur? Well, balaur is the evil version of a dragon, according to Romanian tales. However, not all dragons are villains. During the middle ages, dragon myths spread all around Europe. According to their origins, all dragons of the world evolved from snakes. Is it because humans fear snakes? Might be.

 In Romanian folk tales, the zmeu is sometimes mistaken to a dragon. However, differences exist. This fantastic creature of Romanian folklore it’s usually more human than the Romanian dragons. A zmeu has human limbs and several anthropomorphic traits. Unlike a dragon, when the zmeu kidnaps a princess, he intends to marry her. The dragon, on the other hand, is lacking these human intentions and desires. Even more, a zmeu can use weapons, while the dragon fights using his supernatural strength, like his fire-breathing ability.

water dragon
Water dragon via Pinterest

But that’s not all about them. If we dig further, Romanian folklore tells the story of three types of dragons. Firstly, it’s the water dragon. He lives underwater, guarding a treasure or the entrance to a magic kingdom. Secondly, we have a land dragon. Probably the most well-known, he lives up in the mountains or deep in the forest, usually guarding a castle or cave. Thirdly, it’s the air dragon. His house is up in the sky, where he can fly among the clouds. Indeed not all Romanian tales are like the bogeyman legend.

That’s all?

Not even close. The history of Romanian dragons is also related to dinosaurs. How? Well, balaur is a Romanian dragon, right? Even more, a dwarf dinosaur found in Romania is called Balaur Bondoc.  Besides, there are more dinosaurs found in Romania. Due to what scientists call “the island rule” they are considerably smaller than dinosaurs worldwide. Consequently, that region is now called “The island of dwarf dinosaurs”. How cute is that?

Romanian dragons patch
Order of the Dragon patch via Google Images

So, which is the most popular region in Romania? It’s Transylvania, indeed. And what is Transylvania famous for? You guessed it, vampires. Transylvania Dracula is also linked to Romanian dragons.  As we know already, Dracula’s real name was Vlad III. Even more, his father’s name was Vlad as well. Furthermore, Dracula’s father was a Knight of the Order of the Dragon. The Dragon Knights were fighting against the Ottoman Empire, to protect their homeland. All in all, Vlad’s father was called Dracul, meaning “dragon or devil” as he was a member of the Order. Originally, Dracula means “son of the Dragon” in Romanian.

Romanian dragons and J.K. Rowling’s universe

Romanian longhorn dragon
Romanian Longhorn via DeviantArt

And if you’re not a Dracula fan, maybe Harry Potter is your cup of tea. Surprisingly, J.K. Rowling placed some Romanian dragons in Harry’s universe. Remember how The Ministry of Magic used to classify dragons? The Romanian Longhorn received the highest danger ranking for magical creatures, making them XXXXX. These green dragons stab prey with their golden horns, before roasting them with their breath. However, their population is in danger. Wizards use their horns for potions. That’s why the Romanian Dragon Reserve came to live. Home to an intensive breeding program, the Reserve became a wizard sanctuary. It was the place for them to study dragons of all breeds, adding Romania to the wizardry map.

Overall, Romanian dragons are fascinating folklore characters. They are related to vampires, dinosaurs and even Harry Potter. And that’s not all yet. Harry Potter fans, are you still there? When Harry stabs Tom Riddle’s diary, he does so with a basilisk fang. Also, the basilisk snake is the symbol of the House of Slytherin. At Hogwarts, even their bedrooms were painted in green, the snake’s color. Vasilisc is the Romanian version of the basilisk snake. Even more, the Romanian mythological animal can kill instantly with his toxic breathe.

House of Slytherin animated logo
House of Slytherin via Pinterest

To sum up, Romanian dragons are another piece of the puzzle. If you want to discover more about Romanian mythology, keep reading. Our Romanian wolf legends and werewolf legends are waiting for you. Anyway, after reading them all, you might sleep with the lights on.

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