The traditional Sinjska Alka Knights lancing tournament will be held for the 307th time this summer on August 7 in the southern Croatian town of Sinj.
Preparations have begun for this year’s Sinjska Alka, which is a traditional equestrian competition commemorating the victory over the advancing Ottoman Turkish administration in the 18th century.
This week, representatives of the Alka Knights’ Society in Sinj met with Croatian President Milanović.
During the meeting, representatives of the Alka Knights’ Society in Sinj informed him of plans to internationalise this traditional event of Sinj, which the President endorsed.
“Discussions on cooperation between the Alka Knights’ Society in Sinj and similar societies in Italy, Greece and Switzerland are already underway,” the Office of the President said.
Now in its 307th year, Sinjska Alka sees various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring, known as the Alka, at full gallop. The ring, or Alka, consists of two concentric iron circles joined by three bars so that the distance between the circles is divided into three equal parts. The central circle, which is the smallest one, is worth three points (punat), the upper field two points, and two lower fields one point each.
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.
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.