Monday, September 13, 2010

Korčula: Moreška Sword Dance

Forget all this Islamaphobiapolooza crap about burning Qur’ans or erecting mosques near 'Ground Zero' in Lower Manhattan. If you really want to make a statement, then gird your loins, pick up your swords and do like the Croats on the Dalmatian island of Korčula do - the Moreška!

The Moreška is a sword dance that originated in the 12th Century around present day Lérida in Spain to celebrate the Moors expulsion from Aragon. It was probably brought to Korčula via southern Italy in the 16th century. It's since been tidied up and all the religious triumphalism watered down for modern consumption - once upon a time it was Moor vs. Christian, but today it's black vs. white battling for the hand of a lovely maiden in distress...

Yuko and I had just spent four nights in Dubrovnik and were eager to split for Split, up the Dalmatian coast about 4 hours away. In between lay the gorgeous Dalmatian Islands so we made plans to stop off for a night in Korčula. We booked a room online and arrived a few hours later.

Korčula town is an amazing place - all cobblestones, archways and seawalls. As soon as we arrived we decided to stay for two nights.

It was a full moon the next night and this thing known as the Moreška was taking place. I had read it was a must-see since Korčula is the only place on Earth where it's still performed. We bought our tickets and weren't disappointed...

This one is from 2007 and is in a different location than the one we saw. Ours took place just inside the Old Town walls - this one is outside near the water.

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