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Azhdaya : The 3 Headed Dragon


At a glance

Origin Baltic Mythology
Classification Animals
Family Members N/A
Region Poland, Serbia, Slovakia
Associated With Dragons, Fire, Evil



Azhdaya is the demonic version of Zmaj, a dragon that is popular in other European mythologies, which lived for more than 100 years. It has an odd number of heads and is characterised by a terrible growl. This creature is known to eat humans and animals. In Serbia, it is believed that St. George killed an Azhdaya and not a regular dragon.

In some regions, the Azhdaya is also considered to be a snake who has lived a long time or even a snake/dragon who has eaten another of its kind after defeating them in battle.

Physical Traits

The Azhdaya is usually depicted as having either 3, 5 or 7 heads depending on the region that the mythology is from. It had a constant angry demeanour and was malevolent in nature. It’s physicality was so evil that Christianity adopted the likeness for its representation of evil – the devil.

Other Names

The Azhdaya is often confused with the Zmaj and are referred to by these names across the Baltic region. They are popularly known as azdaha, ala or hala and is distinct from other dragons of the time and within the mythology of the region.

Powers and Abilities

The Azhdaya is known to be able to fly and breathe fire through its multiple heads. They are in constant conflict with humans and other animals. They are known to live underground in dark caves and also were attributed to volcanic eruptions.

Modern Day Influence

Modern depictions of evil dragons and multi headed flying monsters stem from the characterization of the evil Azhdaya. In most mythologies of the time, dragons were not considered to be harmful to humans apart from the Azhdaya which periodically attacked and ate humans for food or out of spite.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 3 headed dragon called?

The three headed dragon is known in different names. Three-headed monster may refer to: Azi dahaka, a three-headed dragon in Persian mythology. Cerberus, a multi-headed (usually three-headed) dog in Greek and Roman mythology. Zmiy Gorynych, a multi-headed (usually three-headed) Slavic dragon. King Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon in the Godzilla franchise.

What is the Russian name for dragon?

Zmei Gorynich or zmei in skazki (Russian folktales) and byliny (Russian epic poetry), is a dragon or serpent, or sometimes a human-like character with dragon-like traits.

What do dragons represent in Russia?

Some of the common motifs concerning Slavic dragons include their identification as masters of weather or water source; that they start life as snakes; and that both the male and female can be romantically involved with humans.

Are there dragons in Russian mythology?

In the legends of Russia and Ukraine, a particular dragon-like creature, Zmey Gorynych (Russian: Змей Горыныч or Ukrainian: Змій Горинич), has three to twelve heads, and Tugarin Zmeyevich (literally: “Tugarin Dragon-son”), known as zmei-bogatyr or “serpent hero”, is a man-like dragon who appears in Russian.


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