Artificial landscape depicting the scene of death and gore that eventually contributed, according to legend, to George's sainthood. Photosensitive flowers act as motion detectors to trigger the dragon's death throes.
Saint George was born in what is now Turkey in the 3rd century AD and served in the military under the Roman emperor Diocletian. At that time -- much as today -- there was high inflation and civil unrest, and hardship fed a trend toward religious fundamentalism both among the population and the government. Diocletian was a brutal persecutor of the rising Christian movement. As a recent Christian convert, George was outspoken in his disapproval of the government's crackdown on Christians. For this he lost his head.... and gained sainthood. Many legends arose to celebrate his faith, courage and spirit of self-sacrifice, eventually inspiring the Crusades, in which those noble ideals became distorted into an bloody excuse for intolerance against Islam and a call to reclaim the Holy Land from Muslim rule. One of the legends that arose about George had him rescuing the beautiful princess Cleolinda from a dragon that was terrorizing a village somewhere in the Middle East. As reward for killing the dragon, he demanded that the population of the village convert to Christianity. I have to respect Saint George as a person. The problem I have is the way the Christian Church has used and abused his personal story for political purposes.