Sword Dance Festival Opening ceremony
The opening ceremony in Korčula town presents sword dance groups from the entire island featuring: Moreška, Kumpanjija and Moštra. As well the festival this year features museum exhibition "Kumpanjija from Vela Luka". In addition a street exhibition will be installed featuring fotographs and information about the sward dances on Korcula island. Korčula island is a unique treasure chest with two types of sword dance groups since at least the 17th century: village Kumpanjija members dance in a linked unified group by holding each other's single long sword, while the municipal Moreška members clash their two swords in a mock battle. Moreška and Kumpanija are listed by the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Croatia to be safe-guarded as intangible cultural heritage. In 2014 the whole island also celebrated an 800-year anniversary (1214-2014) of the oldest known legal charter (Statut) in Europe. The oldest written evidence of sword groups on Korčula are dated back to the 17th century: the Kumpanjija in 1620 in the village of Žrnovo, and a journal entry in 1666 of moreškanti in Korčula town. Following the opening night the sword dance groups perform during the summer in their respective villages and Moreška in Korčula town centre.