Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Worms Part 4: Here Be Dragons

The Siegfried Fountain. Siegfried is the hero of the German story the Nibelungenlied, part of which is set in Worms. (The story was also supposedly part of Tolkien's inspiration for The Lord of the Rings) photo 156490_10100915489254200_1777484709_n.jpg

The Siegfried Fountain

As we wandered around Worms, I noticed there were many dragons, and I wanted to give them their own post. There are two stories that might explain Worms’ love of dragons. As I mentioned before, part of the German epic poem The Niebelungenlied is set in Worms. In this poem, the hero Siegfried is a dragon-slayer who bathed in the blood of a dragon he’d killed. After this, he couldn’t be hurt…almost. SPOILER ALERT:Kind of like Achilles’ heel, Siegfried’s got a vulnerable spot between his shoulder blades. His wife was dumb enough to tell Hagan of this vulnerability, and Hagan killed him. The city coat of arms has a key which may be the key of St. Peter (whom the cathedral is named after), and the dragon bearing the shield may be a reference to the dragon in this tale that guarded the Niebelungen treasure.

There is also apparently a folk tale about a Lindwurm (dragon) that was going to smash the city unless he got a townsperson a day as a sacrifice. A lottery system was used to determine who would go, and one day the queen’s name was drawn. A locksmith made himself a set of bladed armor and secured the queen’s hand in marriage in exchange for taking her place. The locksmith was thrown to the dragon, but as he swallowed the locksmith the blades cut him up, and the locksmith was able to cut himself out. After that, the locksmith took his place as king. By this legend, it was in honor of his victory that a key would be added to the city’s coat of arms and the defeated dragon would bear the shield.

NavyBistros Toledo Frog

This is one frog I didn’t see a title for in the list, but it is outside the Navy Bistro in Toledo.

Given the existence of both legends, one can see why Worms might have a thing for dragons. They appear both in the metal sculptures around the city and in a number of painted sculptures outside businesses. The painted sculptures actually reminded me a bit of my home town, Toledo, Ohio which has frog sculptures on display. They were created during an art campaign called “It’s Reigning Frogs” in 2001 and were sold to various businesses afterward to raise funds for charity. As far as I know, they’re still there. Here is a list of the frogs by title including artist and location. Each link opens a picture of the frog with those details plus the sponsor and the organization that benefited from the purchase.

But back to dragons. This is one of the first dragons I noticed, which is located near the cathedral.

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I forget where this dragon is, but we saw it on our way to get food.
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This fountain also has a dragon on it. I believe it is the Winegrower’s Fountain created by Gustav Nonnenmacher which was mentioned but not pictured on the tourism site. I tried to get a picture from the front, but it didn’t turn out well with the sun.
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I did catch a side view of the dragon on the way back from getting food, however.
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I had heard of the Wheel of Fortune on Worms’ tourism site and had wanted to look for it. I thought we were going to have to stop in the tourist center to ask directions until we happened to see it on the way to the Hot Döner. Like the other fountain, The Wheel of Fortune was created by Gustav Nonnenmacher. The reliefs on it depict various historical local events. In the gallery on this page you can see close ups of the reliefs and German subtitles indicating what each depicts. Of course, The Wheel of Fortune also has dragons on it.
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This is the view from the other side of The Wheel of Fortune.
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This is the view of the same side from a little further back just so you can see the fountain it’s set in.
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While I’m sure there are far more of those painted dragons than we came across, this one was the last that we saw, obviously outside a DM store.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through Worms. The next city I’ll be telling you about is Bad Dürkheim which we actually went to twice during the Wurstmarkt (the largest wine festival in the world). That’s another place it’ll take me a few posts to go through, so the next couple posts will be about other things. Bis später!

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