For almost 300 years now the people of the town of Sinj have celebrated their successful victory over the marauding Ottomans in the seige of their town. They claim their success is due to the prayers and homage they made to the Madonna whose 15th century image is located in the local church. Through this dutiful honouring during the invasion of 1715 the townspeople found strength and courage to fend off the invaders. Later a celebratory tournament was held and in 2015 it will be the 300th anniversary of the first event. It is known as the Alka Tournament of Sinj and is now recognised as a UNESCO heritage occasion.
Honourable men from Sinj are invited to train and perform in a competition to lance a small target whilst riding at full charge on a trusty horse. There are 4 sections to the target each with points attached. The winner of the tournament is the lancer with the highest score after three charges.
The event is highly popular and recognised nationally. The Croatian TV service were covering it live. We found a space at one end which was great for seeing the riders prepare themselves but we couldn't see much of the actual lancing which was about 200 metres down the track. If the maximum three points were scored a cannon was fired. We only heard it go off a few times. Clearly it is a very skilful technique the lancers must perfect in order to score any points at all. The horses charge down the track at full speed.
You can see from the photos that it is a colourful occasion with the riders dressed in traditional clothing. There were marching bands in full dress too. Afterwards in the town square there was a very festive mood and I daresay much celebratory consumption of alcohol.
Each year the one day event is held on a Sunday close to 12th August.
Dress rehearsals can also be viewed a few days before the final event. Entrance is free. There is staged seating next to the track and on the final day there is a large screen that portrays the Lancers doing their charge. For the main event you would undoubtedly need to be there early in order to bag a good seat near the target. We just stood by the barriers and didn't have to pay anything. Our visit to the Alka of Sinj made an excellent start to our week in Croatia.
There is no menu in this place. They sereve daily lunch made of roast beef and pork, local dish "arambasici"- minced meet roled in cabbage with great side dishes of bean, cabbage and season salad with great roast potatoes.
Restaurant is located in small privete valley, with horse back riding school and huge playground for kids. Not much to look at inside the restaurant, but ambiance is just great, casual.
Road to the place is a bit rugged, so be prepaired to ask for directions along the way.
You can let kids play outside or take them to horse's trainers to give them a 5 minute ride on horseback.
If you're looking for a worry-free afternoon outdoors on a nice day, this is deffinitely a place.
It can be crowded on weekends, so come earlier to get a table.
Favorite Dish: They serve only one dish and it's prepaired excelent. Roast beef and pork with great roast potatoes and side dishes.
watch for the children..I have never see such a density in my life..especially in the night hours
Dress Code: Icecream in hand required :)
Favorite thing: ..can't really tell what church is pictured here (maybe some help), but you get the idea of the style
I have to warn you of some aspect of evening walk in Sinj...Well...you have eat first..because in the city you'll not have anything to put in your mouth but drinks :) Main streets are full of teraces, but no food at all..really..you can't even smell any :) so...eat at your hotel and then hit the streets...and oh..of course...ICECREAM...every on of two people eats icecream...at any hour
Fondest memory: I will always remember Sinj because of one fact..at ten o'clock in the evening the streets were full..but the interesting thing is that about 30% of the walkers were children...yes...parents with childs all over :) I guess they are preparing to became a metropola!! :))