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By Chris Boyle


July 1 – 7, 2013.

Kirkpinar is a Turkish oil wrestling festival held at Edirne

Kirkpinar is a Turkish oil wrestling festival held at Edirne.

Originally a method for training Ottoman warriors, the Kirkpinar competition has been held annually since 1346. Steeped in tradition and ritual, Kirkpinar has been listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Element. The festival opens with a procession and prayers at Selimiye Mosque. The pehlivan (wrestlers) wear tight trousers made from water buffalo leather and cover themselves in oil to make it difficult for their opponent to grab hold of them. The champion of the competition is awarded a golden belt and the coveted title of Head Wrestler.

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