Friday, 18 September 2020

VIDEOS: Amazing New Google Project Shows Croatian Culture to the World

September 18, 2020 - Incredible new video series explore Croatian culture, its natural assets, and the country's rich traditions, a collaboration with Google

Steeped in history and tradition, Croatian culture is incredibly diverse. Recognised as being of high value to the country's appeal and its understanding of itself, many items from this rich heritage appear on the protected UNESCO list.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and partners The Museum of Arts and the Museum of the Sinjska alka to produce an incredible series of videos that explore this cultural heritage.

From arts & crafts to music and dance, natural assets and architecture, the new videos show off the rich menu of traditions assets that make Croatia such an incredible country. With so many items included on the protected UNESCO list, there's always something more you can learn about Croatia, no matter how many times you visit.

Lace-making, costumes of folklore, ancient instruments, time-honoured recipes, beloved festivities and distinct, regional styles of music are just some of the facets of Croatian culture explored in the videos. Now, people from all over the world can explore Croatian culture and heritage before they even arrive. The menu of videos and accompanying media is presented in both English and Croatian.

Some of the videos in the series are not new, but they have been selected by the Croatian National Tourist Board for inclusion as they are the best at showcasing their particular aspect of Croatian culture. Alongside the video presentations, there are a wealth of photographs and informative texts. You can view the whole new collaboration with Google Arts & Culture here

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Monday, 8 June 2020

Alka Knights Society President on 305th Edition of Sinjska Alka

June 8, 2020 - The 305th Sinjska Alka will be traditionally held in Sinj this year on Sunday, August 9. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, countless planned events that would gather people en masse have been canceled all over the world, including Croatia. In order to protect human health, all power is delegated to epidemiologists who have been given the authority to prescribe measures and determine behavior in areas under their jurisdiction.

Croatia has somewhat returned to normalcy, but with the recommendation to continue maintaining distance, the main question in Sinj was when and under what conditions the 305th Sinjska Alka would be held. It has run consecutively since 1715, after all. 

This issue troubled members of the Alka Knights Society and the Alka Administration, led by President Dr. Stipe Jukić, who are most responsible for nurturing this segment of cultural heritage that makes Sinj, the Alka region, but also the whole of Croatia, proud. 

Slobodna Dalmacija interviewed Stipe Jukić to find out more.

Due to the favorable movement of the coronavirus epidemic, there are no doubts that this year's Alka will be held. 

"This year's 305th Sinjska Alka will be held according to ancient customs, as required by the written regulations of the Alka Knights Society and oral tradition. We will hold the Alka on August 9, according to the statutory provision that the Alka be held on the first Sunday in August, with Bara and Coja having to be held in the same month. We removed all doubts about the maintenance of this year's Alka, which was especially at the peak of the coronavirus epidemic, when the cancellation of various events began, so we worked out different scenarios for maintaining the continuity of our knightly game," says Dr. Jukić.

Preparations for Alka candidates and flag bearers in the Alka procession usually begin in the second half of May. Have they started yet?

"It is true that the coronavirus pandemic affected the usual movement of things. All Alkar candidates, or at least most, practice riding regularly throughout the year. So it was at the height of the pandemic. Alkars would announce themselves, come to the barn, saddle a horse that is, conditionally speaking, "theirs", and go individually or in a group to ride at the hippodrome, on the nearby Piket or through Sinjsko polje. Every Alkar who truly lives for the Alka trains regularly, as far as his work commitments allow.

Therefore, this year's delay in the start of joint preparations will not affect the training of the Alkars and their horses. That the shortened preparations do not mean an omission, we were convinced during the Ceremonial Sinjska Alka in Vukovar, for which the Alkars prepared for about twenty days, and which, according to the general assessment, was superbly performed in every respect."

When will the candidates gather for the 305th Sinjska Alka?

"Over the next few days, I will hold talks with the Duke of Alkar, Boško Ramljak, and Ivica Filipović Grčić, and then I will convene a session of the Board of Directors of VAD. The first gathering and the start of joint preparations for the Alkar candidates will begin next week."

During the prescribed epidemiological measures, most of the VAD's activities were dormant?

"The Board of Directors did not meet physically for almost two months, but we were in contact almost daily by phone or e-mail, we held telephone sessions and made the necessary decisions. The Sinjska Alka Museum was closed to visitors because visitors could not be expected due to the movement ban. In our Alka stables, activity took place every day because the horses have to eat, drink, be cleaned, new hay has to be put in... We managed to renew some of the horse equipment. During this time, we acquired a dozen new saddles and harness parts. Our phones rang daily. We were called by friends from all parts of Croatia who inquired about holding this year's Alka. Among them was a large number of our sponsors and donors who have already introduced the practice of bringing their business partners from the country and the world to the final Alka festival. We told everyone that we would strive to maintain the Alka under any circumstances, expressing hope that the pandemic would pass and that we would maintain the Alka in the usual atmosphere, with heightened precautions."

In the peak of the pandemic, were different variants of maintaining the Alka worked out just to maintain the continuity of tradition?

"The worst and only inadmissible would be no Alka. We peeked into the Alka’s history and found that the Alka was properly maintained even at the time of the Spanish flu pandemic. That is why we were united in the decision that the Alka must be maintained. At the same time, we knew that if the spread of coronavirus was not curbed, we would have to impose restrictions on performance. So we considered holding the Alka without an audience, raising tribunes only for the Court of Honor and the Duke, but not for spectators, and we also considered reducing the number of participants in the Alka procession to the statutory minimum of eleven spearmen. We worked out all these variants without compromising the ceremony and performance that make the Alka. Thank God, as things stand now, all those variants have gone away and we are preparing to maintain the Alka as usual."

Will there be a full crowd?

"Of course. We will still have contacts with the Civil Protection Headquarters, both local and national. If the pandemic continues to end in our area, Croatia and Europe, there will be no reason not to hold this year's Alka festival in its entirety, which means that the Alkars and Alkar boys will hold another commemorative event in front of a crowded audience and crowded streets of our city."

When, in that case, can we expect ticket sales for this year's Sinjska Alka?

"Along the dirt track of the Alkar racetrack, the assembly of grandstands for the auditorium with a capacity of 5,000 seats will begin in July. When epidemiologists definitely confirm to us that we can prepare for the maintenance of the Alka under normal conditions, we will announce ticket sales. We will put about 3500 of them on sale because we have to set aside about 1500 tickets for our sponsors, donors and guests. Last year, we sold tickets online for the first time and had a positive experience. Therefore, we will apply this practice this year as well. This year's Alka should be held in a calmer political atmosphere, as presidential elections were held at the end of last year, and parliamentary elections will be held in July."

For years, the most prominent state officials have appeared at the Alka. Are you expecting them on August 9 for the 305th edition?

"It is already a tradition for the Alka to be held under the auspices of the head of state. In this context, we asked the newly elected President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, to be the patron of the 305th Sinjska Alka, which he gladly accepted. The delegation of the Alka administration invited President Milanović to personally attend this year's Alka and we received a promise that he would come.

Of course, we also invited the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the President of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković, as well as numerous other high-ranking guests and guests from the political, public, cultural and economic life of Croatia.

The July elections will play the most crucial role in the composition of this year's guests. Regardless of everything, we will be happy to host them all on Alka Day, because we receive all well-wishers at the Alka Feast with an open heart."

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

 

Monday, 27 January 2020

VIDEO: Spectacle in Kupres as First Alka Held in Snow

January 27, 2020 - The first Alka in the snow was held on Saturday at the Čajuša ski resort near Kupres. The winner was Marko Vrca, the BiH media announced on Sunday.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that skis replaced the traditional horses, and each competitor was officially presented with the sound of a trumpet. This winter Alka edition was supported by the Alka Knights Society of Sinj and was attended by the members of the Management Board, among them Ivo Vukasović.

The event featured 17 alkars on skis, and after three races, four competitors had the same number of points.

After the first round, only Niksa Saric and Marko Vrca remained in the competition. In the second, they both hit the middle (‘u sridu’), which resulted in a third round where Vrca again hit the middle.

Of all the competitors, only Marko Vrca is an alkar and a member of the Sinj Ski Club. Last year, he made his debut at the traditional Sinj Alka held in August.

Representatives of the Knights' Alkar Society said that alka was one of the most important ways of promoting the City of Sinj and the Sinj Alka, a knight's game with a tradition of more than 300 years.

Therefore, they decided to hold a competition in Kupres together with the Sinj Ski Club and the association DalSKI, in cooperation with the Adria-ski Sports and Recreation Center in Kupres.

They also announced the continuation of this Alka ski tradition.

Check out the fun in the video below!

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Travel Agencies, Journalists and AIESEC Students in Sinj for Alka and Velika Gospa

August 14, 2019 - During the Alka and the Assumption (Velika Gospa), many representatives of tourist agencies, journalists, as well as students from the largest student network AIESEC visited Sinj. 

As part of the ongoing tourism promotion of the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Sinj Tourist Board, Slovenian journalists Darko Urško Longyk and Primož Longyka, the editor of Focusplus, a magazine specializing in travel lovers of adrenaline and active rest, stayed in Sinj on August 4 and 5.

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Darja Urško Longyk and Primož Longyk were accompanied by tourist guide Dino Ivančić and director of the Sinj Tourist Board Monika Vrgoč, who introduced them to the geographical, historical and cultural features of the city, the shrine of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, the Alka and the significance of Sinj locally and nationally. During their stay in Sinj, they visited the Museum of the Sinj Alka, the Church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, the Sinj City fortress and the Kamičak fort. They followed the parade of 28 historical military units and the 304th Sinj Alka. 

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August 5th was booked for outdoor activities, and accompanied by Vedran Ugrin of the Alkar Hotel, they became acquainted with a part of the Cetina region, moving along thematic trails towards the Svilaja mountain, touring the places from Pavić Nebesa to Lučane,  Zelovo, Svilaju, Satrić, Bitelić, Perućko jezero, Panj, Rumin, Bajagić, Obrovac Sinjski – Han and along the river Cetina through the Sinj field.

In continuation of the cooperation with the world's largest student organization AIESEC, students Ana Zhgenti (Georgia), Dagmara Buczkowska (Poland), Nabil Kasbaoui (Tunisia), Lu Ke (China), Veronika Yurievna (Ukraine), Cemre Unal (Turkey), Qiano Liao (China), Valentina Andrei (Romania), Rina Narita (Japan), Celine Nuygen (Canada) visited Sinj. Their hosts were Toni Petričević and Tea Kovač from Split, and Nina Marendić and Iva Šusta from Sinj.

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The purpose of their arrival was to write articles and blogs about the tourist offer and the potential of Sinj and the Cetina region. Articles about the town of Sinj will be published on various social networks and blogs. This form of promotion has proven effective for all young tourists who are targeting a destination that is interesting and appealing to them.

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This year, the announcements from Sinj started just before the Alkar festivities to adequately cover this unique competition and its national and global significance. A special atmosphere was also created thanks to the celebration of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders, as well as the parade of historical military units, which was staged before the 304th Čoje. For the purposes of filming, the group visited the Shrine of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, numerous Sinj monuments, the Kamičak Fortress, and the City Fort, the Museum of the Sinj Alka, which was followed by the 304th Alka, as well as all the events that followed for this year's winner. The students did not hide their enthusiasm.

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To promote the Sinj Alka, the city of Sinj and the Republic of Croatia was visited by representatives of one of China's largest travel agencies CTRIP (which has over one hundred million users and employs about 40,000 employees). The group visited during the Alka festivities, led by Jenny Yu, a national TV star and influencer. In addition to Sinj, they moved onto Dubrovnik, Split, Ston, Klis, Zagreb, Brač, Samobor, Rovinj, Pag, and Motovun. In the town of Sinj, they were welcomed by Mayor Kristina Križanac, Sinj Tourist Board Director Monika Vrgoc, and Dugopolje Tourist Board Director Tomislav Balić.

To fully convey and visually evoke the colors of Sinj in a promotional video to their clients and potential Chinese tourists, Shanghai Ctrip Intl Travel Service Co.LTD shot a panorama from the Sinj Fort, then the Sinj Alka Museum, and the Alkar horses. This is a continuation of the extremely good cooperation from February when Chinese speaking tour guides, led by Danijel Botić and Zoran Janžek from the Vision One team, visited Inland Dalmatia. 

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Preparations Begin for 304th Sinj Alka!

On Thursday at 6 pm, preparations begin for the 304th Sinj Alka at the Alkar race course. 

Before the start of this year’s preparations, Boško Ramljak will hold a roll call of the candidates at the Sinj Hippodrome.

Recall, from the beginning of May, 33 candidates for the Alka have been preparing in the Sinj field and the surrounding area. Ivica Filipović Grčić says the preparations have so far gone well and that there have been no injuries to the candidates or horses. 

On Thursday,  the Alka Duke will choose the candidates who will continue the preparations, while the decision for the Alka competitors and other participants will be decided seven days before the final competition.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Program Announced for Alka Days and Velika Gospa in Sinj

July 10, 2019 - The Alka Days and Velika Gospa, an umbrella event that brings together a multitude of colorful and attractive content in the summer months, are always welcomed by the people of Sinj and their guests.

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The organizers have made sure that the program abounds in variety and that everyone can easily find something to their liking: from concerts of contemporary and classical music, exhibitions, rock and ethnic festivals, creative workshops, and sports tournaments to Alkar ceremonies and church celebrations. The carefully crafted events combined with unparalleled ambient sounds guarantee unforgettable summer nights in the city under Kamičak.

The celebration begins already on July 12th in the main town square with the play ‘Alka’s Bride’, performed by the Sinj Amateur Theater. Before the official opening ceremony, a classical music concert will be held at the Church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj. The award-winning young musicians including Martin Krpan (violin), Dunja Čolić (oboe), Ana Ivanov (violin), Iva Ilakovac (cello) and Mihovil Buturić (organ) will present an impressive program suitable for this sacral space with the sonatas of baroque composers like JS Bach, GF Händel , GP Telemann, as well as the rarely performed church sonatas by W.A. Mozart. It is a special musical treat by the modern composition of J. Prajza, written this year for this ensemble.

In a similar space, in the courtyard of Our Lady of the Monastery, the traditional festival of spiritual klapa songs will be held, titled 'Klapa Gospi Sinjskoj' on August 1st.

The musical evenings at the Kamičak Fortress are an exceptional musical event organized by the Sinj Tourist Board for many years and breathes new life to this fortress that watches over the ancient city. On August 17th, at 20:30, the ancient walls will feature notes of fantastic jazz music performed by renowned world performers - like Ratko Zjača - Stefano Bedetti and Nocturnal Four.

Kamičak will also host the Kamičak Ethno Festival on August 23rd and 24th, yet another splendid musical event with foreign and local performers. An exciting duo of the name of 'Turica Doncel' will come from Argentina, bringing with them the tastes of traditional Argentine folk, combined with contemporary musical expressions. Perká will travel from Macedonia and is a street performer who focuses on an authentic interpretation of the traditional rhythms of the Balkans, especially the folk sounds of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. The Balkan music tradition will be presented by the beloved Belgrade composer Naked, and Croatia’s strength will be represented by the always splendid Ogenj and Kazan. English folk music group Patrick Walker Trio will play the rhythms of traditional Irish music.

In the Alkar courtyard on August 11th, the people of Sinj and their guests will enjoy the band 'Legenda AR Tribute', which was founded in Buenos Aires. They will present Croatian pop and melodic songs aiming to maintain the cultural roots of their ancestors who had to leave their beloved Croatia many years ago. The group has said that this trip to Croatia is a dream come true, because it enables them to play in the land of their ancestors.

The Summer Music School is held from July 8th to 20th and will gather many young musicians of all ages who have a precious opportunity to collaborate with well-known professors through a variety of professional approaches and educational methods.

The photo workshop ‘The World in Colors’ (August 30th - September 3rd), in conjunction with Foto Hrvatska and the Sinj Tourist Board, invites everyone interested in a challenge to take a new look at the well-known and unknown through the lens of a photographer. 

For the history lovers, the Sinj Tourist Board and its associates are preparing the historic spectacle ‘Battle of Sinj 1715’ on August 8th. The battle focuses on an indispensable part of Sinj and Croatia’s past - the battle with the Ottomans, which spawned the Alka and the celebration of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj. The play acts as a compelling reminder of an event that happened over 300 years ago! 

Even further in the past is the Delmatae and the Romans. Organized by the Association of Gaj Laberia, the angry foes will face one another on the football field under the watchful eye of Emperor Diocletian and Prisca. The result is less important, as . the only prize is glory (and the fact that football was first played in the Cetina region). The game will be held on July 28th. 

The Sinj Air Show will be held at the Sinj sports airport Piket from August 30th to September 1st. The Air Show is organized by the Aeronautical-Technical Society of Sinj and the town of Sinj. The attractive adrenaline acrobatics always attract many visitors of all ages and fans of aeronautics.

Guests from Sansepolcro, Italy, a friend of Sinj, will arrive to present their traditional medieval archery giant Palio della Balestra on August 3rd.

From July 19th to 21st, organized by the Association SKUP, the 17th music and beer festival S.A.R.S. will be held, featuring performers of various musical styles like Vojko Vrućina, M.O.R.T., Grasse, Jufkamental, Limbonaut, Edo Maajka, Atheist Rap, Dregermajster, Heavy Feels, Tony Rose & The Band of Jakeys.

Dr. Franjo Tuđman Square is traditionally home to the Sinj Village Fair (August 2nd and 3rd), featuring numerous exhibitors presenting and offering ornaments, handicrafts, gourmet delicacies, and products from the villages and islands. In the hope of preserving old crafts threatened with extinction, the Sinj Tourist Board, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, is organizing an educational workshop of traditional handicrafts. Visitors will have an opportunity to see how clay pots are made under the hands of master Ivan Knezović, and learn about the almost forgotten skill of making opanaks, or traditional peasant shoes (Ljilja Vojković).

Visitors will be able to taste local products and dishes within the fair. Apart from the exhibition and wine and gastronomy area, visitors will also be able to enjoy an entertainment program featuring numerous associations and cultural and artistic companies. Thus, visitors will be able to catch the performances of the Sinj majorettes, KUD Cetina, KUD Vrilo, the Association for the Preservation of the Cetina Region Heritage, URIG from Otok and HKUD Peruća. Traditional folk dancing will be performed, as will traditional singing.

The Sinj Tourist Board also invites all interested local and foreign guests to join free tours every Thursday at 7 pm (from July 18th to August 29th) as an excellent opportunity to get to know the city under the guidance of professional tourist guides.

Be sure to visit the Alka racecourse in mid-July to watch the preparations for the highly anticipated event in August.

The crown of the events is undoubtedly the Alkar ceremony (Bara 02.08., Čoja 03.08., Alka 04.08.) and the Assumption, or Velika Gospa, the heavenly patron of Sinj. 

The Sinj Tourist Board invites you to enjoy this stacked summer program!

You can find more information at the Sinj Tourist Board website.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 6 August 2018

Josip Čačija Wins 303rd Edition of Sinj Alka

ZAGREB, August 6, 2018 - Josip Čačija is the winner of the 303rd edition of the Sinj Alka lancing tournament, held on Sunday in the southern Croatian town of Sinj, scoring eight points in three runs.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Sinj Alka Tournament to be Held on Sunday

ZAGREB, August 4, 2018 - The 303rd edition of the Sinj Alka tournament will be held in the town of Sinj in the Dalmatian hinterland on Sunday.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Days of Alka and The Assumption 2018

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