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Travel Experiences from the Experts


Oil wrestling in Edirne, Turkey

From Burak Sansal, writer of All About Turkey

Burak’s take on the oil wrestling in Edirne:

“One of the most popular and traditional sports in Turkey. Yagli Gures in Turkish, this tradition has started some 650 years ago during the Ottoman period in the city of Edirne and every year it continues to attract thousands of spectators to Kirkpinar, the town where the matches are held by the end of June.

“During this tournament the wrestlers wear tight and heavy leather trousers called "Kispet", made of water buffalo leather, and they cover themselves with olive oil. Only the best wrestlers can join the final tournament in Kirkpinar after participating at various matches held around the country during the year. Kirkpinar is the Final Tournament for the best oil wrestlers called "Pehlivan", but there is only one winner of course. The winner, "Bas Pehlivan" of the year, gains a fairly good amount of cash, gold and other awards along with the title "Champion of Turkey". This is a very prestigious title for an oil wrestler.

“Besides the tournament, people going to Kirkpinar and to Edirne can enjoy various cultural events organized during this week in the province and return to their home with great memories of this traditional sport until next year.”