For a piece of urban design as obscure and as tacky as this one, this dragon in a courtyard on Vasilyevsky Island has quite a history. Surrounded by 19th century residential buildings and by modern cars, it looks as a proper dragon should in a modern city – quite out of time and out of place.
This specimen was built by local construction worker and amateur sculptor Vladimir Trubakov around 1982. He also built another massive children’s slide further inland on the island in 1986, shaped like a giant turnip, and also at his own initiative and expense.
The dragon has over the years changed colours – it looked particularly menacing in orange. It lost and regained its auxiliary heads (a Slavic dragon, or Zmey Gorynych, is obliged to be three-headed at least). Locals remember that in the past you could crawl into the belly of the beast through the main head and exit near its tail, but it was later seen as a safety hazard, and sealed.
There is usually someone on or near the dragon if the weather is any good. I usually take a quick picture when visiting. The old reptile may be rusty in parts, but its fans keep fixing it. A mate who lives nearby and walks his kids in the area reported occasionally seeing homeless folks sleeping in the dragon’s mouth, but I’m pretty sure the city’s hotels or hostels would be a better option.