Kvarner newsletter / no 6

Crossbowmen defending the town

Inhabitants of Rab and their guests will anew have the chance to enjoy the attractive cultural event, the famous crossbowmen tournament on the occasion of the Day of Rab on the 10th of May.

The crossbowmen from Rab will defend their town once again in a tournament that takes place on the 10th of May. This attractive event, which is considered the cultural highlight of the year, will celebrate the Day of Rab. The medieval ceremony begins with the sound of drums, fanfare and church bells announcing the arrival of the duke and his entourage into the town's loggia, which was announced by a messenger on the previous day. In a town filled with people wearing renaissance clothes, the duke is welcomed by crossbowmen, musicians and flag carriers, and the participants of the tournament receive the blessing in the cathedral. The duke declares the games open on the St. Christopher Square in front of the town gate, which is followed by the raising of the town flag. The tournament starts on the sign of the honoured judge. Twelve crossbowmen compete in aiming at the target, and the winner – the crossbowmen who hits closest to the centre of the target – is declared by the duke of Rab and awarded the prize. The event ends with music, flag carriers' performance and a ceremonial parade.

Besides the picturesque scenes displaying the life in the Middle Ages, a distinctive feature of the Rab knight tournament is the use of the antique crossbow, which is also used only by the balestrieri from San Marino. This was the weapon with which the inhabitants of Rab defended their town from invaders. The tournament commemorates this event and St. Christopher, patron saint of Rab.

The next tournament is scheduled for the 25th of June.