There are many unique cultural events in Croatia, but rare are those more original than Children’s Alka. It is a knight tornament whose participants are young boys, dressed and raised in the tradition of Alkar order of Sinj.
But let’s start the story from the beginning. In 1715, merely seven hundred Croatian knights managed to repel an invading force of Turkish soldiers, which numbered tens of thousands armymen. The defendant’s high morale and tactical proweness managed to keep the town of Sinj safe from Ottoman conquerors, which determined the map of European continent at the time.
In order to celebrate this historical victory, a knight competition has been established in Sinj. It involves active members of Alkari order, which are mounted on horses and attempting to hit an iron target with a spear. It is among the most cherished customs in Croatia, and it annually gathers numerous audicences. The competition has been inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010.
However, the cultural identity and ideals of Alkari knight order are so highly regarded, that Sinj’s younger generations have their own competition. Children’s Alka of Vuckovici has ten-year old participants, who try to hit the iron target without being mounted on the horse’s back. They are, however, in full Alkar gear and uniform.
This weekend, the traditional Children’s Alka has finished in Sinj. Here are the photographs of this important kids-friendly event.