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Korčula - Island of the Knights
Korčula, the Central Dalmatian island rich with folkore herritage, has kept the tradition of chivalry dances and games for as long as four centuries. This tradition is deeply rooted in every inhabitant and is an important component of the social life of the island which is a home to eight knightly associations.

Fencing dance ''Moreška'' is preserved in the town of Korčula, and other places on the island cultivate ''Kumpanija'' and ''Moštra'' - sword dances with roots originating in the ancient carnival customs.

Moreška- combat sword dance, was once common throughout the Mediterranean, but to date it has been preserved only in the town of Korčula where it is held regularly. Thus Moreška became known to the world as the most recognizable symbol of Korčula. This dance is characterized by a variety of movements, complemented by skilled dynamic fencing. Folk drama introduced at the beginning of the dance reminds one of Christian Spaniards fighting against the Moors. Enriched with the medieval atmosphere of Korčula streets, this dance takes us back to the glorious times of epic chivalry stories. The Korčula Moreška of today is certainly the most attractive fencing war dance in Europe and because of great interest to visitors of Korčula it is performed at least once a week. Moreška dance is accompanied by wind and percussion instruments. ''Kumpanija'' is danced in Vela Luka, Blato, Smokvice, Čari and Pupnat, and ''Moštra'' is performed in Žrnovo. These knight games are examples of chain dances with swords and are often called the "dance of the battle." They are believed to have originated as a reminder of the battles with pirates who attacked the island of Korčula in the past.

All of these dances are traditionally performed in the original environment on different locations on the Island of Korčula and on particular days which mark feasts of the patron saints of different places, but 13 years ago the Tourist Office of Korčula decided to organize the first festival of chivalry games in order to affirm the rich heritage and present it in its original setting as a first-class attraction of the city and island.
The procession of chivalrous societies, fragments of dances performed in the surroundings of the old town, the festival and a gala performance by knights associations leave a profound impression on many visitors as well as the residents on the island.

This year's festival will be held on 1st July.
Visitors to the Festival of Sword Dances in Korčula also have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the life and works of the famous medieval world traveler and explorer Marco Polo. There are no written sources about his original homeland and there is a constant dispute about wheather the birthplace of Marco Polo is Venice or Korčula. However, there are a number of written documents about this great travel writer which day by day connect him more to the town of Korčula, where the International Center Marco Polo was founded in 1997.

The island of Korčula can be visited by boat, ferry, catamaran or motor boat from Split, Hvar, Lastovo, Dubrovnik, Mljet Orebić and Drvenik. Nearest airports are in Split and Dubrovnik.

The Tourist Board of Dubrovnik-Neretva County
www.visitdubrovnik.hr

The Tourist Board of Korčula
www.visitkorcula.com

Tourist Information Centre Korčula
www.korcula.net
 
 

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