Life-size Fire-Breathing, Three-Headed Dragon Statue Draws Crowd to Russian Village

In recent years, the village of Kamenka in Russia’s Lipetsk region has become famous as the home of Zmei Gorynich, a giant three-headed statue of one of the most iconic villains of Slavic folk stories.

The “Kudykina Gora” family park on the outskirts of Kamenka village has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lipetsk largely thanks to a single exhibit – the statue of Zmei Gorynich, an “extremely realistic” and “frighteningly attractive” rendition of the main antagonist in dozens of Russian folk stories and legends. Created by Ukrainian sculptor Vladimir Kolesnikov, the impressive statue stands about 15 meters high and is about as large as you’d expect a fearsome three-headed dragon to be. Did I mention it also breathes fire and screams menacingly from time to time?

Photo: Park Kudykina Gora/Instagram

Work on this real-life version of Zmei Gorynich began in 2015 and was completed after about two years. The statue consists mainly of an iron frame and concrete, and depicts the terrible serpent-like creature in all of its terrifying glory, atop a small mound, in the middle of the Kudykina Gora family park.


Even before its completion in 2017, photos of the then-wingless Zmei Gorynich went viral on social media, getting over one million likes on Facebook alone and drawing tourists to Kamenka village. Today, tens of thousands of tourists visit the park every year to see this real-life dragon for themselves.


The highlight of a visit to Kudykina Gora is hearing the dragon let out a Godzilla-like scream just before spouting flames through all its three mouths, leaving plumes of black smoke floating around. These special effects can only be witnessed at 7 pm sharp on weekends, and on national holidays.


To see this impressive statue of Zmei Gorynich with your own eyes, you’ll have to travel 400 km from Moscow along the M4 Don highway. The 500-hectare Kudykina Gora family park is free to visit and features a variety of attractions for the whole family.