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nedjelja, 9. siječnja 2011.

Sinjska alka

The Alka or Sinjska alka is a knight tournament which has been held every first Sunday in the month of August in town of Sinj, Croatia since 1715, commemorating the victory over Ottoman Turkish administration. It consists of an equestrian competition, in which various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (alka) at full gallop.

Traditionally, heads of state have attended the tournament. In 1818, king of Dalmatia and Austrian Emperor Francis I attended the games. In 1842 Archduke Franz Karl attended and Emperor Franz Joseph also attended, in 1875. Today, the President of Croatia currently takes part in the tournament annually. The Alka held on August 20, 1944 was bombed by the Allies as part of World War II.


Alka is also the name of the object used in the tournament; it is made of two concentric rings (diameter of inner being 35.1 mm, and 131.7 mm of outer one) connected with three bars 120° apart. The object is hung on a rope 3.32 metres above the race track. The contestant (called an alkar) rides his horse down the race track and tries to hit the central ring of alka with his spear in full gallop. Depending on which part of the alka he hits, he receives from 1 to 3 points, and no points if he misses. If, however, alkar sends alka in the air away from its holder and hits any part of it on its way down, he will be awarded 1-3 points for a target hit and additional three points, thus increasing the maximum to 6 points in one run. The contest consists of three rounds.

Only men born in Sinjska krajina (city of Sinj and surrounding villages) can take part in the Alka and it is considered a great privilege to participate in the tournament. The vojvoda ("Duke") of Alka is a ceremonial title representing the commander of the alkars. It is a great honour to become the alkar vojvoda, and only the most notable men from Sinjska krajina become one. The costumes worn by the alkar men are the same that were worn by the warriors in the 18th century.

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