Located in the very heart of the Dalmatian hinterland, this city on the riv- er Cetina has a rich cultural and historic heritage which cannot be com- pared to many other cities. As early as the 7th century it was the scene of grand battles, and to commemorate the greatest one, the battle against the Turkish army in 1715, the world renowned Sinjska Alka is held every year, a tilters tournament where the tilters, dressed in the traditional Ilija Veselica costumes, ride on horseback in full gallop, trying to thrust a ring (Alka), hanging from a wire, with a lance.
However, the reason why thousands of pilgrims from all over the world head to Sinj in mid August is the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sinj which offers comfort, hope and faith. The Virgin Mary is described as the queen of heaven and earth, bestowed on her throne of kindness, love and grace. The people of Sinj believe that even their most famous vic- tory in 1715 was the result of Our Lady’s miraculous intervention, given that her painting was in the fortress at the time. The main town square is dominated by the magnificent Church of Our Miraculous Lady framed by the embossed bronze doors made by the academic sculptor Stipe Sikir- ica. The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady of Sinj is celebrated on August 15th when the city of Sinj is bustling with cultural and entertain- ment events. One month later, on September 14th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated with a traditional piety of the way of the Cross and a holy mass on the Visoka mountain where a 10 m cross is located.
When you arrive to Sinj, you don’t want to miss the archaeological site of Town Fort and Kamičak, one of the most picturesque and distinc- tive symbols of Sinj. Visit the tombstone of the seven year old Roman boy Gaius Laberius holding a ball embellished with adjoined hexagons, symbol of a real leather ball, it is considered firm evidence that football in Europe was first played in the Cetinska Krajina Region. One of the most recognisable symbols of Sinj is the vibrant sculpture of the Alkar tilter on a horse, the work of the academic sculptor Stipe Sikirica. A monument to the renowned Franciscan monk fra Pavle Vučković, the work of the aca- demic sculptor Kuzma Kovačić is placed on the eastern town gates. Don’t miss the walk along the beautiful Cetina river which rises from 8 karst springs at an altitude of 385 m above sea level.
It is impossible to visit Sinj without tasting the arambaši, frogs, cray- fish or the rafioli of Sinj. Traditionally hospitable people of Sinj will make sure that you don’t leave their city thirsty or hungry, while accommoda- tion is available in one of the hotels or apartments.
THE ALKAR MONUMENT
The authentic symbol of the town of Sinj is the Alkar Monument. The picturesque sculpture of the Alkar - spearman on horseback, is the work of the academic sculptor Stipe Sikirica. It was set up in 1965 at the so called Biljeg – the very beginning of the Alka racecourse. Biljeg is a place from where Alkars start the run with horse gallop when they do the Alka competition. The monument was renovated in 2019.
Alka tournament was founded at a time when there were many similar knightly games in Europe. All of them are now forgotten, only the Alka of Sinj celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015, under the protection of the UNESCO as a world intangible heritage. Alka is a symbol of every struggle for freedom, for peace and health, for faith and hope.
ALKA KNIGHTS’ COURT
The name Kvartiri (French quartier - lodging, military camp) indicates their original purpose - a quarters in which the Croatian cavalry (Cavalleria croata) has been located. It was built in 1760 as a square-shaped fortress with two sets of buildings. Each had two square towers and two inner courtyards separated by stables. The complex could accommodate four companies of horsemen with horses. Throughout history, it has been used by all armies that lived in the area of Sinj, especially the French at the beginning of the 19th century, and the Austrian when the quarters were upgraded with a two-story barracks for the Home Guard. Today, the quarters are completely archaeologically researched and converted into a museum space and offices for culture and tourism.
THE OLD TOWN
The remains of the old fortress, among the people of Sinj known simply as the Town. Still firmly stands over the town of Sinj, even today after many centuries. It was a refuge for the residents and soldiers during the Turkish invasions. It guarded and protected the weak, it resisted the invaders. In the centre was the church of St. Michael where, at the altar of St. Barbara, the Franciscans of Rama laid a precious and miraculous image of Our Lady of Mercy.
Today’s little church at the old town has been built in 1887, on the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Cetina people from Rama.
In honour of their eternal heavenly patroness, in 2008 the people of Sinj erected a bronze statue of Our Lady of Sinj, the work of the academic sculptor Josip Marinović.
The road leading from the foot to the church at the fortress contains 14 Stations of the Cross. Each station is the work of one of the famous Croatian artists.
The Old Town Fortress and the cemetery are under the protection of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
THE KAMIČAK FORT
One of the most impressive and memorable symbols of Sinj, located in the city centre, opposite the church of Our Miraculous Lady of Sinj. Kamičak is a star-shaped fortress, built in 1712 on the hill of the same name. Local master builders Ignacije Macanovic and Jakov Cincidela took part in the construction. Kamičak got its present appearance in 1890, when it was walled and forested with pine trees.
Kamičak is a protected cultural asset of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
The centre of all events and social life of the town of Sinj. It began to form at the end of the 17th century. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the second half of the 19th century, the square acquired modern outlines and today's architectural appearance. The fountain on the Main Square (popularly called the Funtana) was built by Mayor Antonio Buglian in 1852. A year later, the Square has been paved, and iron lighting poles - ferali - were installed.
Virtual tour of Sinj