|When?||August 4th, 2017 to August 6th, 2017|
Sinjska alka is a Croatian knightly tournament that takes place every year on Sunday in the first third of the month of August in Sinj, on the anniversary of the victory over the Turkish invaders on August 14th, 1715. On that day, 700 Croatian soldiers from Sinj succeeded in turning back the army of the Turkish war lord Mehmed-paša Čelić, which counted more than 60,000 soldiers.
The name of the alka comes from the Turkish word halqa, meaning a ring or rim, and refers to the detail of the footsteps on the saddle of a seized horse of a Turkish noble.
In this individual knightly competition, at least 11 and at most 17 alkars can participate. Alkar, a rider on a horse, gallops across a race course of 160 m and tries to strike the centre of an alka hung on a rope laden across the racing track.
Alka is a wheel made up of two iron hoops interconnected with three arms which outline an outer circle on three equal poles.
The value of individual fields is different and the upper field above the small circle is valid for 2 points, while the lower fields left and right bring 1 point. To hit "usridu" brings three points. Even if he does not hit the alka, but touches it with his spear he says "uništa", and if the alka remains untouched, he says "promašio". There is a precedent in case the spear knocks off the alka from the holder and the alkar catches it in flight and places it on the spear himself, in such a case in addition to the points he would normally receive he gains an additional three points. If an alkar spears the alka to the buckles holding it , it is considered “uništa”.
Each hit "usridu" is celebrated both by the alkar and the spectators, because the purpose of the contest itself is not just to beat the other riders, but due to difficulty of the task, to hit as many “usridu” as possible, which requires great skill in handling the spear and the horse as well as having a sharp eye. Every hit "usridu" is celebrated by music from a brass band, and shoots from the "mačkula" – an antique cannon.
Since 2010, Alka is part of UNESCO's cultural intangible heritage.
On Friday "Bara" is held, on Saturday "Čoja", and on Sunday "Alka".
If you have not yet visited this famous manifestation, rent a car from one of our offices and join the many spectators of this knightly game.
Enjoy this magical experience!