Sunday, 8 August 2021

Debutant Mihovil Župa Wins 306th Sinjska Alka!

August 8, 2021 - Debutant Mihovil Župa is the winner of the 306th Sinjska Alka, which was held on Sunday afternoon in the Inland Dalmatian town of Sinj. 

Mihovil Župa thus won the 306th Sinjska Alka with three hits 'u sridu' (in the middle) with five hits 'in two'.

This year, 17 Alkars competed, including four debutants. With this event, the people of Sinj mark an important moment in their history, when they defended themselves from the invasion of the Ottoman Empire.

The Alka festivities were attended by the Croatian state leadership, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović, who is also the patron of the Sinjska Alka, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković, and the President of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković. Among others, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Croatian Veterans Tomo Medved, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman, and Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković were present.

Furthermore, Olympic gold medalist Martin Sinković (half of the celebrated Sinković brothers), taekwondo gold medalist Matea Jelić, and bronze medalist Toni Kanaet were also present and received a standing ovation from the crowd when their attendance was announced at the beginning of the event. 

Due to epidemiological circumstances, this year's Sinjska Alka was held with a limited number of spectators.  

Sinjska Alka is a Croatian knight's game held every year on a Sunday in August, in Sinj, to mark the anniversary of the victory over the Turkish invaders on August 14, 1715. On that day, 700 Croatian soldiers from Sinj, with the protection of their patron saint, the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, heroically resisted and managed to repel the onslaught of Turkish serasker Mehmed-pasha Celic's army, which was made up of 60,000 soldiers.

On November 15, 2010, Sinjska Alka was inscribed on the UNESCO list of intangible world heritage in Europe.

More soon...

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Sunday, 18 July 2021

Sinjska Alka Lancing Tournament to Take Place on 8 August

ZAGREB, 18 July, 2021 - This year's Sinjska Alka lancing tournament will be held in the southern town of Sinj on 8 August in accordance with the COVID-19 measures in place.

Up to 5,000 spectators will be allowed into the race track area provided that they meet the epidemiological requirements, namely that they have a COVID vaccination certificate or a document proving that they have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours, Alka Knights Society president Stipe Jukić said earlier this week.

The Sinjska Alka tournament commemorates a victory over 60,000 Ottoman soldiers on 14 August 1715 by 700 Croatian defenders of Sinj, about 30 kilometres inland from the southern coastal city of Split.

The final of this three-day competition is held on the first weekend in August. The event features period-clad horsemen riding at full gallop and aiming their lances at an iron ring, called the alka, which is suspended from a rope above the race track.

The Sinjska Alka tournament was inscribed on UNESCO's world intangible cultural heritage list in 2010.

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Saturday, 17 July 2021

2021 Sinjska Alka and Velika Gospa Announced in Sinj Next Month!

July 17, 2021 - The 2021 Sinjska Alka and Velika Gospa events have been announced in Sinj for next month! 

Thanks to the traditionally rich and diverse program of the umbrella event, Alka Days and the Assumption, this summer in Sinj will be lively and full of hats. Despite the difficult and uncertain times we are in, the Alka city is ready and hospitable to welcome its guests, offering interesting events among which everyone will find something for themselves.

The summer of events will be opened on July 16 by the great jazz band Black Coffee in the unique space of Alkarski dvori (Alka courtyard). The former Venetian quarters are an exceptional ambient stage - they will host a summer music school, numerous performances, and concerts, and it is worth mentioning the play 'The Battle of Sinj in 1715' (August 12), which faithfully and effectively revives the circumstances of the glorious battle that determined the history of Sinj.

A favorite setting with the starry sky and Old Town in the background, musical notes will also take off on summer nights at Kamičak. On August 21, as part of the Musical Evenings at Kamičak, four fantastic saxophonists, Papandopulo Quartet and Split jazz duo Željko Brodarić Jappa and Sara Brodarić, known as Sara & Jappa, will take the stage. A week later, on August 28 and 29, guests will enjoy the Kamičak Ethno Festival. The artistic eco-installation Kašetarnica, organized by the UPSUS association, will take place in Kamičak and the City Park from August 27 to 29.

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Željko Zrnčić

Apart from the central events - the Alka festivities on August 6, 7, and 8 and the Feast of the Assumption - it is important not to miss the oldest children's Vučković Alka and many exhibitions and literary presentations.

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Ivan Alebic

You should definitely mark your calendar for August 6 and 7 for the traditional and popular Sinj Village Fair. In addition to the permanent exhibition and excellent gastronomic offer, you can experience the spirit of the past through workshops of precious old crafts that should not be forgotten - skilled blacksmiths, wool processing skills, pottery, and more. Visitors will surely be delighted by the performances of bands Kopito, Ljuta kuća, Guiliana, and Diktatori and colorful local cultural and artistic societies.

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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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Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Croatian Film Crew Coincidence Picture Production Filmed Documentary in Sinj

August 18, 2020 - The Croatian film crew Coincidence Picture Production shot a documentary during the Alka and the Assumption of Mary in the Sinj area.

Coincidence Picture Production, i.e., producer and director Elvis Bilalic, was included in the list of world-renowned professional filmmakers in 2019, thanks to the production of the documentary Say Yes to Happiness! With the mentioned film, shot in 2018 in Kenya, Dubai and Sweden, they won the first place in the competition of international documentary film at the Around International Film Festival - Berlin in 2019.

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They arrived in Sinj to shoot the documentary Waterways (Putevi Vode).

The project includes 29 rivers and 17 natural lakes, which include national parks, nature parks and water and areas under special protection. Filming began at the source of the river Mirna in the smallest town in the world, Hum, after which the film crew went on a journey through the remaining destinations to the last and smallest river Ombla in the Dubrovnik area. They stayed in the town of Sinj during the Alka festivities on August 9 and 10, and on August 14 on the eve of the celebration of the Assumption of Mary. 

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Through a Documentary Film project, Waterways seeks to defy oblivion, recalling instructive information about flora and fauna of the beautiful landscapes of the Republic of Croatia, but also its autochthonous, resourceful and cheerful inhabitants along rivers and lakes. This project also aims to contribute to the preservation of high-quality values of our natural resources and through the lives of people in those areas to penetrate the hearts of viewers, both nationally and globally.

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The criterion according to which the script was made included the recording of natural lakes and rivers that begin and end in the Republic of Croatia, with the documentation of exceptional, autochthonous life stories and the development of the environments in question throughout history. In the area of Sinj, recognizable at the national level and beyond the Alka and the celebration of the Assumption of Mary, the patron saint of the city, the Coincidence Picture Production team filmed, among others, the Miletin spring, the Petrovac fountain, the Mostina mill (Milardovic family) on Han as well as the preparation of Sinj arambaš (restaurant Dubrovnik).

Namely, during the filming of the documentary, famous chef Zlatan Molnar from the show "3, 2, 1 - cook!" prepared specialties characteristic of different areas of Croatia.

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Historical determinants important for irrigation and water supply of the city of Sinj were presented by professors Velimir Borkovic, author of numerous publications on water and the city of Sinj, Branimir Zupic, curator of the Museum of Sinj Alka and Danijela Banovic Petricevic, curator of the Museum of Cetina Krajina in Sinj. Adventure sports, like kayaking down the Cetina and hiking in our mountains, was introduced by Ante Romac, an adventurer and mountaineer, who passed the entire Via Dinarica, while Marko Vukovic arranged a carriage ride through the city to the Miletin source.

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It should be noted that this extremely creative six-member film crew, due to the volume of museum material and rich intangible cultural heritage of the Cetina region, is coming to Sinj again to shoot additional material to complete the rich film material for the documentary.

With this commendable project, the City of Sinj will get an exciting promotion, especially because this film will be screened at international film festivals. The Sinj Tourist Board is one of the sponsors of this documentary.

The Sinj Tourist Board would like to thank Hit Radio, which hosted a part of the team on its show, as well as everyone who selflessly helped to achieve a successful recording in the area of the city of Sinj.

 

 

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Ivo Zorica Named Winner of 305th Sinjska Alka!

August 9, 2020 - The 305th Sinjska Alka was held on Sunday in Sinj, under strict epidemiological measures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the Sinjska Alka is a well-known Croatian knight's game, established in memory of the great victory of the Venetian army and the people of the Cetina region over the Ottomans on August 14, 1715. Seventeen Alkars competed in the Alka on Sunday, and the Alka festivities were held under special circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinj Alka was attended by President Zoran Milanovic, president of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandrokovic, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, as well as a number of ministers. 

Instead of the usual 5,000+ spectators lined along the Alka track, this year, there were only 1,400 spectators in the stands. All spectators had to give their name, surname and telephone number so that epidemiologists could do their job more easily should an outbreak occur.

The Alka duke signaled to start 305th Sinjska Alka just before 5 pm. Frano Ivkovic, the winner of the 304th Sinjska Alka, was the first to go, though his attempt was unsuccessful.

Ivo Zorica was named the winner of the Sinjska Alka on Sunday, after accumulating seven points on the legendary racetrack. After the third round, he escaped debutants Martin Susnjari and Nenad Maric.

Ivo Zorica was born in 1983, and according to his education, he is an economic technician employed at the PBZ branch in Sinj. He is married to Monica, with whom he has a son and a daughter, and comes from the famous Zorica family as the second Alkar. Accompanied by the flag, he made his debut in 2000, and in 2002 he became an Alkar spearman. From 2006 to 2013, he was the deputy alaj čauš.

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Friday, 7 August 2020

Everything Ready for 305th Sinjska Alka!

August 7, 2020 - Everything is ready for the 305th Sinjska Alka, which will be held this Sunday in Sinj, under special epidemiological measures and corona rules.

Due to the epidemic, the Alkars trained separately, and the number of spectators in the stands has been reduced. The knights' competition is preceded by the Bara, which is scheduled for today, and the Čoja, which runs on Saturday.

There are no tickets on sale this time around, and the only hotel in the Sinj region is almost completely filled with guests. Small renters in the Sinj region, which lives for the Alka, are also satisfied with the reservations. This year is no exception.

The last dress rehearsal before the competition was held on the Alka track in Sinj on Thursday. RTL's Jelena Tešija was there with one of the organizers. You can see the video here.

Sinj claims they will not become a new coronavirus focus.

"Not at all, because we implemented all the recommendations and agreements we had with the national and county headquarters so that we had two groups in the preparation of the Alkars themselves, and we reduced the number of spectators to one quarter at the track. Therefore, it will be very small, almost impossible to spread infection," said Stipe Jukic, president of the Alka Knights Society Sinj.

"We divided Alkars into two groups: groups A and B of 15 each, so we adhere to the measures. If one group becomes infected and ends up in self-isolation, there is another that can do Alka to the very end, because according to the statute, the minimum number is 11 to do Alka," said Ivica Filipovic-Grcic.

In the end, 17 of the best were selected, among them one debutant.

To be sure no corona spreads, there will be no reception or a traditional celebration.

"All events that are otherwise in preparation of the Alka, and lead to gathering a larger number of people, have in some way been canceled," said Jukic.

The Sinjska Alka has run since 1715, both in war and in peace, but rarely in such circumstances.

"It was rescheduled once during an epidemic, as it was during cholera in 1855, so instead it took place in October," said Monika Vrgoc, director of the Sinj Tourist Board.

The 305th Sinjska Alka will be held on Sunday and will be followed by the entire state leadership.

Source: Dalmacija Danas, RTL

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Saturday, 1 August 2020

305th Sinjska Alka to Allow Maximum 1,000 Spectators

August 1, 2020 - This year's 305th Sinjska Alka, which will take place on August 9, will be limited to a maximum of 1,000 spectators, and tickets will not be on sale, says the Alka Knights Society.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that this news was decided by the Board of Directors of the Alka Knights Society. The Alka administration concluded that, due to prescribed and recommended epidemiological measures caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, it will organize this year's Alka much different than before, which includes a significant reduction in the number of seats in the stands.

The number of spectators will be limited to all three final performances, the Bara, Coja and Alka itself. How the tickets will be distributed and for how many spectators, the Alka administration will decide later, all in agreement with epidemiologists.

Representatives of the Alka Knights and the Civil Protection Headquarters of Sinj spoke about the organization of this year's Alka with the leadership of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, i.e., with the Director of the Headquarters and Deputy Prime Minister Davor Bozinovic and his associates.

Due to the escalation of new coronavirus cases in the Sinj area, epidemiologists believed that this year's Alka should be held without an audience.

In the Alka ranks, it was estimated that at best, every second or third seat could be used in the stands. Epidemiologists are by no means inclined to do so, so they accepted that there should be a maximum of a thousand spectators in the Alka stands, properly distributed.

Keeping the distance will also be reflected in the composition of the ceremonial Alka Lodge. There will certainly be places for the main guests: President Zoran Milanovic, who is also the patron of the 305th Alka, President of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandrokovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the most prominent representative of the military and church authorities, as well as hosts Stipe Jukic, President of Alkar Knights Society, and Kristina Krizanac, Mayor of Sinj.

These seven persons, who should have a place in the first row, will occupy only a small part of the spacious ceremonial lodge, as there will certainly be other dignitaries, but in much smaller numbers than in previous years.

The Board of Directors of the Alka Knights Society calls on the citizens of Sinj and the Alka region, as well as the arriving guests, to implement the recommended epidemiological measures with full responsibility so that the 305th Alka festivities are held in a festive, albeit specific atmosphere, and so that due to the irresponsible behavior of individuals, they would not become the focus of the spread of the virus.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Alkar Rehearsals Begin in Sinj!

July 21, 2020 - This year, in a different atmosphere than usual, respecting the recommendations of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the CNIPH, we can expect a spectacular 305th Sinjska Alka!

The famous knightly competition is preceded by long and thorough preparations. After extensive training at the Sinj Hippodrome and the endless plains of Sinjsko polje, the Alkars have been preparing at the Alkar racetrack since mid-July.

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Every day, Monday to Friday, from 6 pm to 8 pm, you have the opportunity to be part of a unique preparation. See the Alkars sharpen their skills and the Alkar stable horses adapt to the lively surroundings and sand of the Alka track.

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Despite the summer heat, the rehearsals are always welcoming, and both old and young can sit in the shade of mature chestnut trees to follow the events on and around the racetrack.

As August and the Alka festivities approach, the whole of Sinj is beating to the rhythm of the horses, and. the streets of the city that lives for Alka, under the flag of UNESCO and Croatian and world intangible heritage, are pulsating. It all starts on Friday, August 7, at 5:30 pm with a competition for the 305th Bara. Saturday, August 8, follows with the 305th Čoja, also at 5:30 pm, and on Sunday, August 9, at 4:30 pm, the Alkars fight for the triumphant pennant and their place in theSinjska Alka’s long and rich history.

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Entrance to the rehearsals, as well as to Bara and Čoja, is free, with the recommendation to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 meters (audience, performers and staff). Don't miss the opportunity to be a part of these unique events in the world and participate live in the Alka trailer!

 

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."

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