- February 24, 2020
The Sinjska Alka is an equestrian competition held in the Croatian town of Sinj every first Sunday in August since 1717.
Sinjska Alka commemorates a Croatian-Venetian victory over Ottomans on August 14, 1715, in which the local Christian population of around 700 Croats in cooperation with a smaller number of Venetians managed to defend Sinj against 60,000 Ottoman soldiers.
The people of Sinj believe that the Lady of Sinj miraculously drove away Ottomans, thus helping them to defend their town. Because of this victory, the Venetians retained control over Sinj and integrated it into the Venetian Dalmatia, according to the terms of the Treaty of Passarowitz signed in 1718.
On the national holiday of the Assumption of Mary (Velika Gospa) on August 15, in honor of Lady of Sinj, a procession is organized, during which horsemen in full regalia ("Alkari") parade a painting of Our Lady of Sinj throughout the town streets.
The Alka itself is an equestrian competition in which various horsemen riding at full gallop aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (Alka) and are awarded points according to which sector of the ring they are able to pierce. In 2010, the Alka was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.