Kırkpınar - History - Oil-wrestling For Sultan and Shah

Oil-wrestling For Sultan and Shah

During the period Islam was brought into Asia Minor, spirituality and philosophy became part of the physical garment of the pehlivan. Oil-wrestling was established as a sport on its own. In Iran and the Ottoman Empire alike wrestling became the national sport. In Iran, wrestling grew to the customary institution of the zurkhane strong house, where people go to socialise and engage in athletic exercise. The wrestler is the strong-man in popular culture (in Persian the term is "big neck"), but he is also the pahlavan, the knightly hero, who is a free-living spirit and is generous and loyal.

The year 1360 is adapted by the organizers of the Edirne Kırkpınar as date Ottoman soldiers started to organize annual oil-wrestling tournaments in Kırkpınar, a wrestling field "within Samona village". According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this legend made the Kırkpınar world's oldest continuously sanctioned sporting competition.

The last bout between the two finalists lasted all night as neither was able to defeat the other. They were found dead the next morning, their bodies still intertwined. They were buried underneath a nearby fig tree, whereupon their comrades headed to conquer Edirne.

After the conquest, the soldiers came upon another fig tree, surrounded by a crystal-clear spring, so they renamed the surrounding meadow (which until then had been known as Ahirköy) Kırkpınar, which translates from Turkish as "forty springs" or "forty sources".

To commemorate the heroism of the conquering warriors, a wrestling tournament was re-enacted annually at this site, and the oldest still-contested sanctioned sporting competition in the world began.

Whatever tales, myths and stories. There has always been a common respect for the oil-wrestlers. The pehlivan is being stronger than anybody, having a well built body, clothed in heavy leather pants. Up till today, the wrestlers pour olive oil onto their bodies. And still you see a younger wrestler defeating an older wrestler kiss the older wrestler's hand.

According to historian Burhan Katia, the word pehlivan was also used for an officer, governor or huge and honest person. From the 16th century on, the term was exclusively used in the Ottoman Empire for the wrestling sportsman.

It was the time of Süleyman I, known throughout the world as "The Magnificent", even among such big-name-players as Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor—ruling Spain, Germany and parts of Italy), Henry VIII (the Tudor king of England), and Francis I (Valois King of France).

Süleyman, in his own land known as "kanuni", the Legislator, reigned between 1520 and 1566, and was succeeded by his son Selim II, for whom Mimar Sinan build the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, considered to be Turkey's most beautiful mosque.

But above all, it was the era of Murat III (1546–1595). Under him the Ottoman Empire reached its largest geographical area in history.

In 1590, a peace agreement was reached between Murat III and the Persian Shah. The model of the wrestling pants go back to this period. The model is still same for the Iranian "pahlivan" and the Turkish "pehlivan", except that the Turkish wrestling pants are made of leather and are called "kispet", while the Iranian pahlivan wears a "pirpet", made of silk.

Famous wrestlers from Iran came to Istanbul to compete with the Ottoman champions, and the Turkish champs were invited to Persia to show their strength.

Read more about this topic:  Kırkpınar, History

Famous quotes containing the word shah:

    Varis Shah says habits don’t die even if we are cut into pieces.
    —Varis Shah (18th cent.)