Turkish oil wrestling is one of the most popular sports in Turkey.
The history of oil wrestling tournaments dates back to 1065BC.
The oil wrestling season lasts for eight months with matches taking place throughout the country but the most famous and most important tournament takes place in Kirkpinar, at the end of June-beginning of July.
“Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling” is the oldest wrestling festival in the world and has been an annual event in Turkey for nearly 650 years.
The festival is bounded by tradition with wrestlers (pehlivan) wearing 13 kilo pants made of water buffalo leather (Kispet) and covering themselves in olive oil before each match.
The wrestlers try to put their hands through the kispet of their opponents as much as possible. The pehlivan that can get his hand into his opponent’s kispet, can control him by holding the lower end of his pants, ‘paca’, the ultimate wedgie.
They persevere in contests for a week, spurred on by belly dancing, traditional music, singing and copious amounts of roast lamb.
The music and celebrations each day will often last until the following morning, when the festivities begin all over again.
The president of Turkey arrives on the last day to watch the final matches of the Kirkpinar festival and present the winner with cash and gold worth around 100,000 USD, along with the title “Champion of Turkey”. The wrestler that obtains this award for three consecutive years also receives a 14 carat Golden Belt weighing approximately 1.5kilos, alongside his gold and cash awards.
Kirkpinar is located just outside Edirne, Turkey and in 2010 the festival will run from June 21-27.
Fez Travel has just released an exclusive festival itinerary that allows you to stay at the heart of the action, maybe even get the chance to oil up and wrestle.
Check out the details www.feztravel.com
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