Sinjska Alka

Sinjska Alka

First weekend in August
Sinjska Alka is a day of jousting on horseback in the small town of Sinj, near Split in Croatia. The festival commemorates a victory of a peasant army over the Turks in 1715, even though the 60,000 Turks outnumbered the Sinj warriors by three to one. The annual tournament was supposedly instituted soon after the 1715 victory.
On this day, young men who have trained throughout the year ride horses headlong down the steep 140-yard run and try to spear an iron ring, or alka, suspended from a rope about nine feet off the ground. The ring has a diameter of six inches and within it is another two-inch ring. The jouster who most successfully spears the rings in three tries is the winner and receives a sash and silver medal. The band plays a triumphal march and shots are fired for all top scorers.
Before the contest, there is a ceremonial procession through the streets. The contestants march through Sinj accompanied by their mace bearers and shield bearers wearing 18th-century costumes decorated with gold and silver.
CONTACTS:
Sinj Tourist Information Office
Vrlicka 50
Sinj, 21 230 Croatia
385-21-826-352; fax: 385-21-826-352
www.tzsinj.hr
Alka Tournament of Sinj
Chivalric Association of Alkars
Sinj, Croatia
www.alka.hr
SOURCES:
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 403