One of the most important cultural events in the Dalmatian summer calendar is the Sinj Alka, an annual knights' tournament which in 2015 will be celebrating 300 years of the defeat of the Ottomans after the Siege of Sinj in 1715. This year's event once more welcomed the Croatian President Ivo Josipović and General Ante Gotovina, and was son for the third time by Ante Zorica. You can read more about the day here.
And from August 16-18, there will be the children's version - take a look at the pictures above to give you an idea. It promises to be a special few days. It is just half an hour by car from Split, or just under an hour on the regular bus. By way of explanation, we turn to the Sinj Tourist Board once more...
Children's Alka Tournament of Vučkovići
In memory of their ancestors Father Pavao, Bože, Tadija and Zec, whose heroism and bravery made them become prominent in the decisive battle against the Ottomans in 1715, the people in the hamlet of Vučkovići (Brnaze near Sinj) instituted in 1955 their Alka Tournament in which only children can participate. The Children’s Alka was naturally instituted following the example of the famous Alka of Sinj.
In the Children’s Alka of Vučkovići, boys up to 10 years of age run on their feet. Their Alka squires are elderly local people, whereas those oldest from the hamlet play the roles of the Alka Court of Honour and the Alka Tournament Master (alkarski vojvoda). In the Children’s Alka procession the standard-bearer rides a horse, a donkey is a symbol of edek (the Pasha’s horse) and the Tournament Master’s adjutant carries the sabre of the hero Bože Vučković.
As the right to participate in the Tournament only belongs to children from the hamlet of Vučkovići, the little Alkari have interesting nicknames: Wolf, Horned Viper, Biter, Hairbreadth, Additional Number, Live Wire, Scatterbrain, Bumblebee, Beetling Brows, Friar, The Apple of Gramps’s Eye...
Unique and an attraction in itself, the Children’s Alka Tournament of Vučkovići has been outside the scope of ordinary local festivities and nowadays it makes a precious and unique experience to all visitors, just like the true Alka of Sinj.
The ceremony of the Children's Alka Tournament of Vučkovići lasts for three days.
Bara – Friday 16 August at 6 p.m.
Čoja – Saturday 17 August at 6 p.m.
Alka – Sunday 18 August at 5.30 p.m.
For more information visit the Sinj Tourist Board website, www.visitsinj.com