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Sinjska Alka 2018

A medieval equestrian knightly competition in Sinj that is part of UNESCO list

Sinjska Alka in Croatia - Best Time
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© Vlada Republike Hrvatske

Sinjska Alka is a costumed equestrian competition that is held to commemorate the victory of a small Croatian-Venetian army over an outnumbering forces of Ottoman empire in 1715. It takes place in a town of Sinj on the first Sunday of August. Sinjska Alka was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage lists since it is the only remaining example of the medieval knightly competitions that were regularly held in the Croatian coastal towns until the nineteenth century. It has become a marker of local history and a medium for transferring collective memory from one generation to another.

Sinjska Alka in Croatia - Best Season

During the competition horsemen ride at full gallop and aim their lances at a hanging metal ring which is called "alka". They get points depending on which sector of the ring they are able to hit. Bottom sections are worth 1 point, top section is worth 2 points, and the central section is worth 3 points. Alka doesn't only mean the object used in the tournament, but it's also the name of 160 m long racecourse in the center of Sinj, where competition is held.

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Only men born in the city of Sinj and surrounding area can participate in this authentic competition. It is considered a great honour to take part in Sinjska Alka. The most important and respected local men can be selected to become a vojvoda or commander of Alka.The costumes worn by participant resemble those of the 18th century horsemen.

The tradition to hold Sinjska Alka competition emerged in the early 18th century to continue knightly competitions that were held across the Venetian Dalmatia area. It is mentioned the sonnets of the Italian poet Julije Bajamonti, written in 1784.

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