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Sinj – Three centuries of knighthood

16 November 2011 No Comment

Not many towns in the world can boast a tradition that has been nurtured for three centuries by the Dalmatian town Sinj, located around 40 kilometres north of Split. This is the Sinjska Alka – the knightly tournament which is unique in Europe and the world. Ever since 1715 the people of Sinj have kept the memory of their victory over the Turkish conquerors. In honour of this heroic event, when 700 soldiers, after a 15 day siege, managed to fight off the Turkish army, which counted 60000 soldiers, the inhabitants of Sinj thought up a game in which every year on the anniversary of this victory, the knights that actually fought in this battle participated and competed in.

In the following years, their heirs and heroic descendants competed in Alka and the competition has been held up to this day. On authentic locations, the Alkar knights proudly maintain the tradition which symbolises heroism and a desire for freedom. The peak of the three day event is competing for the `alka`. The knights do not fight each other, but compete by riding a horse in full gallop, and with a three metre long spear, aim to hit the alka which hangs on a rope across the race track. The alka is an iron ring, made up of two concentric rings which are connected with three iron bars that separate the space into three identical parts. The winner of the Alka is richly awarded, and the people of Sinj and Cetina Krajina celebrate him as their most determined hero and knight, until the Alka competition the following year. This year`s 296th Sinjska Alka will be held on 7th August.

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