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MY ISTRIA GUIDE

Find out more about some of the traditional games played in Croatia!

Find out more about some of the traditional games played in Croatia!

Games of the past!

Traditional games are an expression of the country's culture, but they are in danger of being lost. Can traditional games be saved from oblivion in this modern world? A proverb says: "Tradition is not keeping the ashes, but passing on the flame". This proverb is followed by Croats, who attach great importance to tradition. In the following text we would like to introduce you to some of the most popular traditional Croatian games.

The "race for the ring" is a knight's game that has become a trademark of the small Istrian town of Barban. A Venetian family owned the town at the time and organised the game for the first time in 1696. They wanted to attract as many visitors as possible. The participants were mainly nobles and townspeople who owned horses and a knights armament. The preparations even start months earlier, as the game is not really easy. The aim of the participants is to cross a 150-metre course three times within 12 seconds at full gallop and hit the ring with a spear. A hit from the side scores a half point, a hit at the bottom scores one point, a hit over the middle scores two points and a hit right in the middle scores three points. The participant with the most points wins and is declared the winner of the "Race for the Ring" by the judges.

a-man-in-specially-made-suit-on-a-decorated-horse-during-a-knight-tournament

In 1908. students from Prague brought an unusual game called water-polo to the beach of the Dalmatian city of Split. The water on the beach was not deep enough for this, so some researchers think that "Picigin" developed from dry water-polo. Picigin is a sport in which a maximum of five players throw a ball to each other while standing in the shallow sea. There are no strict rules, the important thing is to keep the ball above water as long as possible. A sandy beach with ankle-deep water is ideal for this. Bacvice beach, located in Split just a short walk from the city centre, is considered one of the most popular beaches and has become a temple of Picigin.

 a-tanned-young-man-playing-picigin-in-shallow-sea

Card games have always been part of the tradition and culture and are really celebrated. The most popular games Briscola and Tressette, originally from Italy, have become indigenous throughout Croatia. The terminology that accompanies these two card games is a mixture of Croatian, sometimes with Istrian dialect, and Italian. A big role is played by sign communication or distractions between the playing partners, which gives the games an additional funny touch.

shot-of-people-around-a-wooden-table-playing-a-card-game

Pljocanje is a game that goes far back into the history of Istria and was devised by shepherds to pass the time while herding cattle. Nowadays, this sports game has defined rules and is held at folk festivals all over Istria. The game requires at least two players and a smaller round stone the size of a palm and a larger stone. In Istria, the smaller stone is called pljocka and the larger stone grotta. The winner is the one who throws the Pljocka closest to the Grotta from a 5-metre line.

Book one of our beautiful villas with pool in Istria, the Kvarner Bay or Dalmatia and take the opportunity to get to know one of Croatia's traditional games. Play Picigin on the beautiful beaches, learn the magic of sign communication while playing the card games Briscola and Tressette, watch the locals play Pljocanje or travel back in time and watch the knight races for the ring. Whether small or large, fun for the whole family is guaranteed!


Valentina Novak

6.6.2022
+385 1 222 70 50