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Oil Wrestling Festival



Turkey - Edirne


From: 2016.06.30 To: 2016.07.06



Official website:



Since Ottoman times Turkish men have washed themselves with oil and head to a grassy spot to wrestle. Called Yağlı Güreş, which translates to "oiled wrestling," the largest tournament in Turkey is hosted in the city of Edirne. This is also the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world. In turkey, the wrestling is highly regarded as a prestigious sport, the men train extensively beforehand, attending special wrestling schools, and people come from around the country to watch. The matches are held in an open field, and before hand, the men slick themselves from head to toe in oil, making pinning a difficult feat. To do so, one must put his hand down his opponent's knee length leather trousers and have his hand come out the other side in order to gain the proper leverage necessary to flip and pin him on his back. It's a bit of a circus, and can look like they are groping in unusual places, but it's all a sanctioned part of the game. In Ottoman times, these matches would sometimes last for multiple days at a time, but in recent years the wrestling time has been capped at forty minutes. During the three-day tournament show, traditional music keeps the audience tense, and over 100 wrestlers from across Turkey participate.

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