Croatia is a popular tourist destination and when you think of Croatia, you think of beaches and clear blue sea. But there is much more to this beautiful country than that. We are very proud of our cultural heritage and if you have the opportunity to experience, see or hear something you have to take it. We will tell you something about two of them, the klapa and the Sinjska alka.
If you are visiting Croatia in August, we recommend you to go see the Sinjska alka. It is a knights tournament in Sinj. It is held in the first half of August since 1715, as a commemoration of the Croatian-Venetian victory over the Ottomans on the 14th of August in 1715. Around 700 Croats with the help of Venetians defended Sinj against 60 000 Ottomans.
The alka is a competition where alkari (the participants) ride their horses on the track and have to pierce the center of the metal ring (alka) with their spear. It is hung on a rope 3,32 m above the ground. The ring consists out of 4 pieces, that are worth from 1 to 3 points. They get 0 points if they miss. They can get extra 3 points if they pierce the alka while it bounces of the rope and they pierce it while it is in the air. Every time someone gets 3 points, it is celebrated with a shoot from the cannon. The competition consists of three rounds.
Only men born in Sinj and the area can participate in the Alka, which is a great privilege and honor. They wear the same costumes like the ones worn in the 18th century by the warriors.
In 2010 Alka was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
What is klapa? Klapa is traditional a cappella singing in Dalmatia. Klapa means „a group of friends“. The main thematics of the songs are love, sea, and country. Traditional klapa consisted of only male singers, but in recent times female vocal groups are popular as well. There are also mixed groups.
Even if you don’t understand the Croatian language and have the opportunity to hear klapa in a traditional setting, such as a square or alley, take it, you won’t regret it. The songs and melody are unique due to the singing techniques without any instruments. The voices are their instruments.
Every year there is a Festival of Dalmatian Klapa in Omiš. The first one was in 1967. It was spontaneous singing that was performed by ear, not following the notes. It was different from the dominant and trained ensembles that were popular at that time. Til this day more than 4000 singers and more than 470 klapa have participated in the festival.
From 2012 klapa is even inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In 2013 Klapa s Mora represented Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest. The klapa consisted of 6 singers from five existing klapa.
Throughout the summer there will be concerts in Baska Voda, Brela, and Makarska, so you will have the opportunity to experience and enjoy traditional Dalmatian music.
Klapa Šufit “Ne diraj moju ljubav”