Syldavia (Cyrillic: Зылдaвыa) is a fictional Balkan kingdom featured in "The Adventures of Tintin" by Hergé.


Syldavia is a monarchy, ruled at the time of the "King Ottokar's Sceptre" story by King Muskar XII. The capital is Klow, formerly Zileheroum, located at the confluence of the fictional Moltus and Wladir Rivers. Other cities named in the books are Niedzdrow, Istow, Dbrnouk, and Zlip. The population of Syldavia is 642,000 with 122,000 living in Klow. The national airline is Syldair.

Syldavia is also called "The Kingdom of the Black Pelican" and its flag is yellow with a black pelican in the center. It somewhat resembles the flag of the Holy Roman Empire, the Basque Arrano beltza, as well as the flag of Albania.

The people speak Syldavian, a Slavic-sounding West Germanic language written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Curiously, the Latin alphabet is used in medieval documents, and the Cyrillic letters used are a straight transcription from the Latin letters (e.g., "sh" is written "сз" rather than "ш").

The kingdom's motto is "Eih bennek, eih blavek!" which Hergé translates as "Qui s'y frotte s'y pique" "Who rubs himself there gets stung" (in fact, the motto of Nancy, from the Latin "non inultus premor", referring to its emblem, the thistle; in the British edition, the translators rendered the motto "If you gather Thistles, expect Prickles"). The motto can also be interpreted as a Brussels dialect rendering of the Dutch phrase "Hier ben ik, hier blijf ik" ("Here I am, here I stay").

Syldavians seem to be fond of mineral water, which does not go down well with the whisky-drinking Captain Haddock, one of Tintin's travelling companions.


The exact location of Syldavia is not given in the comics, and nothing more is known than that it is located in Balkan peninsula, and that it has an access to the sea. In "Destination Moon", the trail of the Syldavian-launched rocket points to a location north of the Danube.


The modern Syldavia was formed in 1127 when a tribal chief called Hveghi drove away Turkish conquerors and took the name Muskar. Borduria conquered the country in 1195 until Ottokar I drove them away in 1275.

King Ottokar IV became King in 1360. When an enemy, Baron Staszrvitch, claimed the Throne and attacked him with his sword, Ottokar struck him to the ground with his sceptre. The King then decreed that the ruler of Syldavia must have hold on the sceptre, otherwise he would lose his authority. This custom had a power of law as late as 1939.

In 1939 Syldavia was nearly invaded by its neighbor Borduria, as part of a plot to oust King Muskar XII. Tintin had a hand in defusing the situation. (The situation was very similar to that of Anschluss in Austria in 1938 though the conclusion was not the same).

King Muskar XII, a keen motorist who even had his own gun for protection, comes across as an actual ruler rather than a constitutional monarch, he himself orders his ministers and generals to make the moves necessary to prevent the coup and the invasion. However, the king is noticeably absent from the other stories set in Syldavia such as the launching of the moon rocket.

Coat of arms

The Syldavian achievement of arms is shown on the title page and page 62 of the "King Ottokar's Sceptre" album. It would be blazoned heraldically as follows:

"Quarterly, first and fourth or a pelican displayed sable, second and third gules two increscents in fess argent; for a crest, on a barred helmet affronty or, mantled azure doubled or, the Royal Crown of Syldavia [This crown appears in the scenes in the Treasure Chamber on page 41 and others of "King Ottokar's Sceptre.] proper; behind the shield the Royal Sceptre of Syldavia [This appears in "King Ottokar's Sceptre" from page 67 onwards.] and a sceptre of justice [A sceptre topped with a hand of benediction, known as the "main de justice", was part of the regalia of the Kings of France.] in saltire; the motto "Eih bennek, eih blavek" on a scroll below the shield, pendent therefrom the badge of the Order of the Golden Pelican [Tintin is shown being invested with this insignia on page 60 of "King Ottokar's Sceptre".] ."


In their book "Tintin Ketje de Bruxelles" (Casterman, 2004 ISBN 2-203-01716-3), Daniel Justens and Alain Préaux have documented how the Syldavian language is based on "Marols" or "Marollien", the dialect of the Marollen, a formerly working-class (though now trendy) quarter of Brussels. Marols, which Hergé learnt from his grandmother, is a Dutch incorporating many words of French origin as well as a sprinkling of Spanish dating back to the rule of the Low Countries by the Spanish Hapsburgs (1519-1713).


The khôr (Эйлдав хор) is the official currency of Syldavia. The Syldavian king is pictured on the obverse of the bills.Fact|date=June 2008


Syldavian cuisine is generally related to Eastern European food, as we see Blini, herbs, and lots of sausage and garnish in the kitchen of a Syldavian restaurant (in ("King Ottokar's Sceptre"). An important export is mineral water, and the country is mostly non-alcoholic, much to Haddock's disgust. It is mentioned that a prime dish in the country is slaczek, the hind leg of a young dog in heavy Syldavian sauce (though given the context this is possibly untrue). Slaczek is served to Tintin with mushrooms and a salad.

Atomic research

In the 1950s Syldavia had a secret but successful space program in the area of Sbrodj (named Sprodj in the English edition).

The Sprodj Atomic Research Centre, seen in "Destination Moon" and "Explorers on the Moon" is located in Syldavia. The sprawling complex is located in the Zympathian Mountains of Syldavia (a play on the Carpathian Mountains), located close to rich deposits of uranium. The Centre is secretive and has very tightly-guarded security, including a large number of security checkpoints, helicopter surveillance, anti-aircraft artillery, and a squadron of fighter aircraft based at the facility. Work at the centre, carried out by a large team of international physicists recruited by the Syldavian government, involves research into protection from the effects of nuclear weapons, and is the base for the Syldavian space program. The facility, which seems to be entirely self-sufficient, is administered by the Director, Mr. Baxter. The Sprodj Centre has its own atomic pile for processing uranium into plutonium, and has vast facilities for the research and construction of the rocket-ship which carries Tintin and his colleagues to the moon. The gargantuan complex is last seen at the end of "Explorers on the Moon", and is never again seen in the Tintin series.

National Dance

"Blushtika" meaning "Goat Dance Twisting" from Tintin and the Lake of Sharks

National Lakes

"Pollishoff" meaning "Lake of Sharks", Klow road in Lake Pollishoff. Syldavian river police in Klow police station.


Tintin stories with Syldavia:
* "Le Sceptre d'Ottokar" ("King Ottokar's Sceptre", 1939)
* "Objectif Lune" ("Destination Moon", 1953)
* "On a marché sur la Lune" ("Explorers on the Moon", 1954, for earth scenes only)
* "L'Affaire Tournesol" ("The Calculus Affair", 1956)
* "Tintin and the Lake of Sharks"

See also

* Fictional European countries


External links

* [ On the Syldavian language] by Mark Rosenfelder

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