Split in History: Picigin on Bačvice (1923)

Daniela Rogulj

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Split kroz povijest

Picigin is a favorite Split game that was created on the sandy beach of Bačvice somewhere around 1923. Who invented the game, we still do not know today. The game is played throughout the year by the young and old, men and women, and is simple enough for everyone to enjoy. 

Picigin is played in a circle with two or more players. The objective of the game is to keep a small rubber ball in the air between the players as long as possible. The game ends once the ball hits the ground. 

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Picigin is played in shallow waters (thanks to Bačvice) with depths never reaching above the knee. And a fun fact? The first Picigin players were also known to wear monokini swimsuits!

The most prominent players of this first generation of Picigin were brothers Kamber and Aleard Kraljević, precisely because of how they tossed the ball. It is also well known that the first goalkeeper of Hajduk Split, the legendary Luka Kaliterna, kept the Picigin ball in the air by his feet. 

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Apart from those already mentioned, Tonček Kaliterna, Ante Kuzmanić Galac, Galo Jukić (from Hajduk), Ivo Čapeta and Sergija Katalinić Bomba also played a big part in the first generation of Picigin. After that, they were joined by the younger generation, including Miro Kraljević.

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One of the least expensive sports one can play in Split, Picigin is played year round – and hosting a game of Picigin at the New Year when the sea temperature may be as low as 10 degrees Celsius is a tradition that has been maintained over time.

In April 2005, Picigin had its first official championship tournament which is still played today. We imagine this is a tradition that will stand the test of time. 

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