More than 25,000 people are expected at the first Sinjska Alka outside of Sinj since 1946. Apart from the traditional event this August in Sinj, the event will be held outside of the town next month.
Held in the southern Croatian town of Sinj, Sinjska Alka, as the event is known, is an equestrian competition commemorating the victory over the advancing Ottoman Turkish administration in the 18th century.
Now in its 302nd year, Sinjska Alka sees various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring, known as the Alka, at full gallop. Only men born in Sinj and surrounding villages are eligible to take part in the event and with it comes considerable prestige.
The costumes worn by the alkar men are the same that were worn by the warriors in the 18th century.
According to the statute, the event must be held annually in Sinj, however, throughout its 302-year history, there have been special circumstances which have seen the event held outside of Sinj three times.
In 1832 it was held in Split, in 1922 in Beograd and in 1946 in Zagreb. Now, for the fourth time, it is set to be held outside of Sinj with the decision to hold it in Vukovar on 6 May 2017. Whilst previous location decisions were political, this is the first time it is the citizens who have decided.
A number of events will be held in Vukovar to commemorate the occasion. More info on the website Grad Vukovar.
Sinjska Alka was inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010. The Sinjska Alka is also celebrated with local religious events, social gatherings, and festivities and is the only remaining example of the medieval knightly competitions that were regularly held in the Croatian coastal towns until the nineteenth century.