Guide to SKOPJE

Marbles – enjoying an unforgettable neighborhood play

Although the popularity of this game has dwindled since computer games and mobile phones appeared on the market, you will certainly find a few marbles in that little corner of the house where childhood memories are stored. As spring arrives and some finer weather too, you only need a few marbles (if you’re a good player you can always win a few more), shoes with good soles for digging holes in the ground, and a friend who turns into a bitter rival as soon as you start playing Marbles!

DSC_0040Saturday afternoon. A sunny spring day. The city is slowly waking up. I am returning from the traditional Saturday pastime – coffee, tea, chatting with friends in the Old Bazaar. I’m still thinking about all the “important issues” we debated about today. Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted as I notice the little children from my neighborhood. I can’t take my eyes off those ​​several square meters of dusty land. So far away from everyday problems, playing with rapt attention, the children have only one thing in mind – how to shoot the marbles into a small hole in the shape of a semicircle, better known as “shlayka”, which is best made with the heels of their shoes.530780_10150781192134328_287771592_nIn their eyes I see they are eager to win. After each round of throwing the marbles in the circle they develop different strategies. There is a battle to be won and in their eyes the fear of defeat is so easily detected, because each time they lose they are left with one marble less. The opponent then might win their “lucky marble” – their favorite one. That is a real loss for the passionate fans of the game that used to be very popular among children.524789_10150781182714328_254260659_nMarbles used to be one of my most favorite childhood games. The colorful or sometimes monochrome glass balls always meant good fun, competitive spirit and of course collections. I approach the children and ask them how they got the idea of ​​playing marbles now, in the computer era, at a time when Counter-Strike and many other similar games are popular. “We play Counter-Strike at home, but now it is spring and playing marbles is a different way of hanging out with friends.” – say the children from Butel.546543_10150781183024328_297599090_n 536497_10150781184649328_1840374879_n 529692_10150781189899328_274224417_n 398271_10150781189239328_1421180390_n

Marbles mean friendship, fellowship and a battle to win. I ask them how they prepare for the game, whether they use any strategies or secrets to get to victory. “During the night, in my sleep I develop a strategy to defeat my friends. And the secret is my red marble, it brings me luck – explains Enver, who seems really excited about whether he will be able to hit the colorful marble of his tricky opponent.525918_10150781194094328_1490623640_n 563083_10150781181909328_2005062836_n

The result of the game is always a time well spent that costs you just a few denars, the price of a marble, and of course there’s the dusty hands and torn trousers, usually at the knees as you are kneeling down on one knee when aiming at the opponent’s marble.DSC_0022

The name Tinsley Green is unknown to most people, but, once a year, this little town in West Sussex, England, becomes the centre for competitors and fans of different marbles games. The British and World Marbles Championship has been held here since 1932 (the name suggests it is both British and world championship). National teams from various countries come to this quaint little community with hopes of winning the victorious ring. The contests are traditionally held in front of the town pub which was built in 1936, and rings have been installed in the back yard to meet the needs of the championship and the locals. The name of this town in Britain is a direct association to marbles which is another proof of the passion that these people have for the game.DSC_0054

Refresh your childhood memories with Balkon3:)

Husamettin Gina