Alka tournament

In 2015 this tournament will be celebrating its 300th anniversary.
It is held every year in the memory of a glorious victory in 1715 of outnumbered defenders of Sinj against a huge Ottoman army. This victory is attributed to the Madonna of Sinj, portrayed on a painting from the 15th ot 16th century and guarded at the local church.

The tournament includes

  •  horses
  •  spears
  •  knights (with no shining armor, but) in exquisite costumes
  •  cheering crowds
  • marching band and
  •  an ALKA.

The knights compete against each other by aiming their spear through the ALKA (which is hung at 322 cm from the ground and at 160 m from the beginning of the track) at full speed on horseback. Each part of the ALKA has point counter-value. After 3 races the knight that has the highest score wins or if more knights have the same score they go into play-offs (pripetavanje). The winner (slavodobitnik) gets presents and the glory for the entire year.

What is there to do?

  1. cheer on the stands during rehearsals in June and August or during Alka weekend,
  2. take pictures with Alkar spearsmen or their horses or on their horses
  3. take pictures with Alkar squires
  4. try to see if you know when srida (3 points) have been won – ask a local to tell you the secret
  5. treat yourself to an uštipak or some ice cream…

Let us know your impressions!

Delmates vs. Romans match

The match has been taking place the last Sunday in July for the past 10 years. It tells the story of the invention of football and it’s not the one you are used to hearing. This story contradicts the classic tale of football being an English invention and brings a new theory of it being played in the Cetina region, almost 2000 years ago. This theory is based on a tombstone found in this region depicting a boy by the name of Gaius Laberius who seems to be holding a football.

So what to do? Join the game and score some goals for whichever team you prefer beacuse goals from the audience are most welcome and will be acknowledged (just a hint: maybe it’s better to score for the Delmates team, after all you are in Dalmatia!)


Assumption Festivities

The legend says that on the eve of Assumption day in 1715 the Ottoman army saw a lady in white floating over the ramparts of the Old Town and being struck with famine, thirst, disease (an outbreak of dysentery) and lack of heavy artillery left the battle field in such haste and panic. The remaining defenders of Sinj and the surviving population of the region that took refuge inside the fortress thanked the Madonna for the victory as they had not stopped praying to the Blessed Virgin during the two weeks that the siege had lasted.

This legend bore the Alka tournament and made Sinj one of the greatest Croatian sanctuaries and pilgrimages. Up to 150.000 pilgrims come each year to kneel before the Madonna, whisper a prayer and light a candle, as calculated by the Franciscans based on the number of wafers distributed in the 3 weeks of August.

The day starts with the fist mass at 4 a.m. and the mass at 7 a.m. is held at the small church in the Old Town. The main event starts at 9:30 a.m., the only time that the painting is carried out of the church through the town streets and the endless river of people pass by it in the attempt to touch it. Carrying the image is a great honor and Alka knights, squires, policemen, firemen, veterans, members of civil associations, nuns, Franciscans, benefactors etc. alternate during the Procession. The main mass is celebrated in the town’s square as the church is too small for all the pilgrims.

What to do? Say your own prayer or vow and if you can touch the pedestal on which the painting is carried through the town or just admire the religious enthousiasm.

  • St. Michael’s Festivities in Trilj take place end of September in Trilj.
  • When you are not participating in any local festivities there are still many things to do. For example activities such as biking, horse backriding, paragliding, kayaking, canoeing etc. or tasting delicious food – uštipak, arambaši, koštradina, or enjoy good underground rock performances or simply check out our News & Blog section for more ideas on what to do.