In honor of their heavenly patroness, Our Lady of Sinj, who, according to tradition, drove away the Ottomans, as an eternal vow of loyalty and respect, the people of Sinj founded the knightly game Alka.The Alka of Sinj is an equestrian competition which has been held every first Sunday in the month of August in town of Sinj, Croatia since 1715, commemorating the victory over Ottoman Turks. In 2010 it has been inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Alka of Sinj consists of an equestrian competition, in which various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (alka) at full gallop. Alka is also the name of the object used in the tournament, made of two concentric ring. The contestant-„alkar“- rides his horse down the race track and tries to hit the central ring with his spear in full gallop. Depending on which part of the alka he hits,receives points from 1 to 3,and no points if he misses. Only men born in Sinjska krajina can take part in the Alka. The "Duke of Alka“ is a ceremonial title representing the commander.The costumes worn by the alkar's are the same that were worn by the warriors in the 18th century.
Sinjska alka is a living witness of a unique history. It unites the past and the future, celebrates honor and honesty, the customs of our ancestors, heroism and courage.
This year's 305th Alkar ceremony will be held on August 9 in the specific circumstances caused by the COVID-19 virus pandemic, respecting all epidemiological measures.