5 Traditional Sports to Enjoy

Discover Turkey and traditional sports

Traditional Turkish Sports

Turkey has lots of unique traditional sports to have a good time. Traditional camel wrestling, historical Kirkpinar oil wrestling, Kafkasor bullfighting, Turkish archery and game of jereed are some of them.

Oil Wrestling

Oil wrestling is one of the most popular national sports in Turkey. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. The wrestlers wear tight short leather trousers called as kispet in Turkish, made of water buffalo leather weighing approximately 13 kg, and they cover themselves with olive oil.

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling: Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling is one of the oldest festivals in the world still being held for over 650 years since the first contests in 1360.

Camel Wrestling

Camel wrestling, which is an ancient village tradition and tournament, is one of the most popular traditional Turkish sports. The origin of this sport dates back to nomadic tribes. It is mostly popular in the Aegean region. Camel wrestling has certain rules, and is usually held during the winter as a winter festival. Contests are held under strict regulation to protect the welfare of the animals who may only wrestle once per day in a match which lasts for only 10 or 15 minutes.

Game of Jereed

Jereed is a traditional Turkish equestrian team sport played outdoors on horseback in which the objective is to score points by throwing a blunt wooden javelin at opposing team's horsemen. It is a part of the long tradition of holding horses in high esteem in Turkey.

During the Ottoman period, the jereed was played as a popular war game demonstrating the bravery of its participants.

Bullfighting

Kafkasor Bullfights is a local traditional festival, held every year on the high plateau of Kafkasor, 8 km away from Artvin province in the Black Sea region of Turkey.

This type of bullfighting is unique and a defining characteristic of the entire region. In this way, it has an atmosphere of sports and entertainment with their own rules.

The bulls from all parts of Artvin are classified according to the thickness of their necks or weight. Certain rules have been applied since the bullfights first began in order to protect bulls from injury and suffering. When the weaker bull withdraws from the arena, that defeat is accepted and it is taken out of the arena by the people in charge.

Turkish Archery

The importance of archery and especially horse archery in Turks dates back to prehistoric times. After the training of their horses, Turks spread their skills in the use of bows and arrows with their migration from Central Asia. Today it is practiced only as a traditional sport.

Traditional Turkish Sports
Camel Wrestling, Selcuk, Izmir