Pljočke (Croatia)

Pljočke (Croatia)

Name of sport (game)


Name in native language


Place of practice (continent, state, nation)



Pljočkanje is one of the oldest known traditional sports, of which there are archaeological artifacts dating back more than 5,000 years. In the Republic of Croatia it is played along the Mediterranean belt, and we are in possession of several stone "pljočka" found in archaeological sites dating back to the early Middle Age.


Pljočkanje is a precision throwing sport that requires skill, technique and strategy. It is played between two opposing teams. It is played with a set of "pljočke" in a rectangular field-a playing field is bounded by a rope. Players try to win the greatest number of points expected to win.

Each team wins one point for each pljočka closer to the bulin than the opposing team's closest; points are counted after all pljočka have been played.

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The game begins by drawing two teams, and the one that wins has the right to choose the side, the color of the pljočke to be used and to throw the bulín into the playing area and start the game by throwing the first pljočka. After throwing the bulín and the first pljočka, the opposing team must play their pljočka, one or more, until they have placed a pljočka closer to bulin than the opposing team's pljočka is. Once done, the other team will try to change the situation by gaining a point for themselves, and so on until all pljočka have been thrown.
When one team has no more pljočka to play with, the opposing team can play and try to score or win more points by placing their own pljočka closer to the bulin or by pushing the opposing pljočka in the way.
When all the pljočka of both teams have been played, i.e., the toss round has been completed, one of the teams will receive as many points as the number of pljočka closest to the bulin. The reference will be the pljočka closest to the opposing team's bulín.
Once the round is over and the points scored are determined, the second round begins on the other side of the playing field (opposite the first). The team that scored points in the previous round has the right to throw the bulin and the first pljočka.
The game ends when one of the team first wins the total number of points stipulated in the current rules. All necessary rounds must be played. The game is played until 13 points are won.
The terms "pljočka" and "bulin" refer to the names of props for the game.


Current status

The game has been maintained to this day, and a significant revitalization was initiated in the early 1990s. The Istrian Association of the Pljočka was appointed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia as a cultural heritage holder in 2016, and in addition to the National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the "pljočkanje" has been included in the UNESCO Good Practice Register as part of the World Cultural Heritage in 2022.



Istarski Pljočkarski Savez

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IPS is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2011 with the aim of revitalising, preserving and promoting 'pljočkanje'. By decision of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, it was appointed as a cultural heritage holder in accordance with the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The IPS is very actively involved in education, documentation and research activities on traditional games and sports. President: Armando Fabijančić
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Sources of information



Source of photos used in this article and gallery: Milivoj Pacenti, Kazimierz Waluch



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