Everything about the Sinjska alka in one place


Sinjska alka is a Croatian knight game that celebrates victory over Turkish invaders. It is held every year on Sunday in the first half of August in Sinj. The mačkule, an old-fashioned cannon standing on the fortress marks the beginning of Alka early in the morning, followed by the reveilles played on the streets of Sinj and gathering of the alkars and common people. The race itself starts in the afternoon.


In this knight's contest may participate at least 11 and up to 17 alkars. The horse rider in a full gallop passes a 160 meters long runway in time of up to 12 seconds. His aim is to hit the centre of an alka, an iron ring with four gaps set at a height of 3.32 meters. The one who ranks the most points in the three races becomes the winner. Every hit "in the middle" is celebrated by the announcement of the brass band, as well as the shots from the mačkule cannon, and it should be noted that no piece of equipment should be lost during the race. If this happens, then the alkar may eventually get the right from the Alka Duke to repeat the race.


Only men born in Sinj and Cetinska krajina may participate in Alka. The Alka procession is made by Alka Duke, the knights, shield bearers and company. At the head of alkar troop is Alajčauš and the head of the shield bearers is Arambaša.
The Alkars wear an old knight's apparel, while their horses are decorated with silver and gold. The shield bearers are, however, dressed in old folk costumes, while members of the court of honour have ceremonial dark-blue suits. Otherwise, at least two members of the court must have a permanent residence in Cetinska Krajina.


August 14, 1715 - On that day, 700 soldiers defended the 60,000 soldiers led by Turkish commander Mehmed Pasha Čelić. In honour of that the people of Sinj founded this knighthood game.
1784 - From that year comes the sonnet in the Italian language, which is sung by Julije Bajamonti, a doctor and musician from Split. It is the oldest written mention of the Sinjska alka.
February 10, 1798 - The oldest official document mentioning the Sinjska alka is actually a letter sent by Austrian Commissar Count Rajmund Thurn to the Sinj Commander Jakov Grabovac.
November 15, 2010 - Sinjska alka is listed on UNESCO's list of immaterial world heritage in Europe
1818 - Sinj was visited by the emperor Francis I. That visit was celebrated by the special Alka in his honour and the emperor rewarded the winner with a brilliant ring that was worth 800 forints.
March 1, 1832 - On the occasion of the release of a man from Sinj from prison, Alka was held on that date in Split. History testifies that Alka was still three times outside Sinj - 1922 in Belgrade, 1946 in Zagreb and 2017 in Vukovar.