taxi drivers playing tavli

Game playing between flights

This picture was taken on Friday afternoon at Rhodes airport arrivals. October is the last month of the summer season here, direct flights from Europe and further afield start to dwindle as the last few visitors come across to enjoy the glorious weather at this time of year.

With a few clouds in the sky, warm sunny days and cool evenings it amazes me how few people visit in Autumn. The sea is still warm from the months of intensive summer heat and the beaches are quiet.

Enjoying some time to relax the taxi drivers at the airport took time out to play the traditional Greek board game which they called τάβλι (tavli) similar to backgammon there are several different games that make up τάβλι.

There wasn’t a mobile phone or tablet in sight, several pairs of men were playing along the glass wall of the airport with the occasional observer. Said to be good for brain function, strategic mind games like these are believed to help prevent dementia and keep our brains exercised.

Games played on a board or table have a very long history, the name tavli is related to the word tavla, meaning “board” or “table” or “tawleh” from Arabic, and the Latin tabula. Versions of it were played across ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Iran and central Asia. It’s believed that the game was brought to Europe by men returning from the Crusades.

As I’m always interested in where our words come from, the origins of the word backgammon is unclear. Two theories are that it comes from the Welsh ‘back’ (little) and ‘gammon’ (battle) or from the Saxon ‘bac’ (back) ‘gamen’ (game). Either way it’s a good example of how cultures mix and learn from each other.

The world has always been a melting pot of different cultures and ideas, it’s how we have developed and learned from each other over the centuries. Sometimes today it seems we’ve forgotten how much we gain from each other and how better the world is when we work together.

Recommended by my husband who is currently reading this

What games are played where you are and do you know the history of them? If you enjoyed this post please comment and share thank you.

The images in this post were taken with my iPhone 6 and edited with fotor for mac. The best camera is the one in your pocket.

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