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article imageDenis Gugic wins 299th Alka knight tournament in Sinj, Croatia

By Paul Bradbury     Aug 3, 2014 in Travel
Sinj - One of Croatia's oldest and proudest events, the Sinj Alka knights' tournament, is won in front of the president by Denis Gugic.
In front of an enthralled crowd in Sinj, which included Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, skilled horseman Denis Gugic won the prestigious Alka knights' tournament in the Dalmatian town of Sinj on August 3, 2014, according to local media reports.
The traditional event, now in its 299th year following the Siege of Sinj by the Ottoman Turks, is one of Croatia's most important and traditional events, and Digital Journal was among the guests last year, who also included President Josipovic and Croatian war hero General Ante Gotovina.
Denis Gugic  winner of the 2014 Sinj Alka Tournament in Croatia
Denis Gugic, winner of the 2014 Sinj Alka Tournament in Croatia
Kresimir Tiganj
The uniqueness of the event, which was inscribed in UNESCO's list of intangible heritage in 2010, is explained by the Sinj Tourist Board:
The famous Alka rings
The famous Alka rings
"In commemoration of the glorious victory and honouring their heavenly patroness and rescuer, the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj, who protected Sinj from the Ottoman invasion in 1715, the townspeople have faithfully cherished the memory of the great moment for nearly 300 years. In all its splendour, the Sinjska Alka has united the East with the West, heroism with sturdiness of ancestors, the culture reconciliation with national identity. The tournament of Alka originated at the time when there were many similar knightly tournaments in Europe. All of them have now fell into oblivion, except the Alka Tournament of Sinj, which is at the dawn of its three hundredth anniversary and under the protection of UNESCO as world’s intangible heritage."
The Alka tournament is arguably the most important cultural event in the region of inland Dalmatia, an area north of the coastal belt of resorts such as Split and Makarska, which is beginning to attract increasing international attention, as Croatia looks to diversify its tourism offer away from the predictable sun and sea offer. The launch of the first international website dedicated to the project, supported by the regional and local tourist boards, is a sign that Croatia is waking up to the rich natural, adventure tourism, heritage and gastronomy of the inland region.
2015 will see the 300th anniversary of this proud tradition.
2015 will see the 300th anniversary of this proud tradition.
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