Last week, one of the most popular cultural events took place in Omiš – the Omiš Pirate Battle.
An event that aims to show the rich pirate history of the city, the Omiš Pirate Battle highlights the historic battle between the Venetians and Omiš pirates in the 13th century. The spectacle is known to draw around 10,000 visitors each year. You can read more about the event on TCN.
While I could not personally attend the event last week, I was struck by the breathtaking images of the battle captured by photographer and friend Terry Ruebush, also known as 3 Gray Goats Photography.
I caught up with Terry this morning to get a glimpse into his personal experience of the famous, er, infamous pirate battle.
“Last Friday was a hot and steamy summer night when I joined the thousands gathered for the 11th Annual Pirate Battle along the ancient Omiš waterfront! Being a new resident of a country, I have ground to adore, and this event was yet another ‘first’ for both me and my partner Patrick!
Mid-afternoon we boarded the Dalmatinac Bus in Split and made the hour-long trek to downtown Omiš where we melted (quite literally) into the tightly packed throngs of spectators and awaited twilight, and the beginning of the annual ‘carnage’.
As darkness descended over the harbor, the most anticipated climax of the two day festival arrived with pounding cannon and musket fire, blankets of dense gunpowder smoke, screaming commentary in English and Croatian, and the squeals of hundreds of giddy children nervously clapping little hands along the water’s edge, all while keeping one eye locked on their moms, dads and older siblings. These were pirates, after all…who knows what might happen!
It was loud, it was chaotic, it was so much fun,” said an excited Terry.
Is there anything you would change about the event for next year? Any suggestions or constructive criticisms?
“All of that said, I will be honest and say that as a foreign ‘tourist’, there are organizational improvements the city planners could make that would enhance the whole experience.
First and foremost, a couple of information booths with multi lingual volunteers would help immensely to explain where the various venues would play out! We had seen the online hype about the festival and even visited the official Facebook page but more facts about the exact timing of events would have been so helpful. As I stood with the crowds from all over the world along the waterfront, we began asking each other the same questions:
When exactly does the battle begin?
Is the parade before or after the battle?
As it turned out, the parade was about 30 minutes before, and most of those gathered missed it because, in order to watch, you would have to sacrifice your tiny bit of real estate you had claimed to view the twilight battle! I wish the parade had been earlier,” added Terry.
Would you do it again?
“All in all, despite the confusion and heat, I had an exhilarating time as I let my inner child cut loose with laughter and excited delight as the fearsome Omiš Pirates triumphed over the Venetian usurpers for the 11th year in a row!”
We take that as a yes.
To check out more of Terry’s work, visit the 3 Gray Goats Photography Facebook page.