Last week we went on a road trip to Edirne just 220 kms away from Istanbul ,to attend the annual 650'th Kırkpınar Wrestling festival. The idea came from a friend (ilkergurer.blogspot.com) who wanted to work on his personal photography project on portraits of Turkish oil wrestlers. While he took his portraits, we have been helping him with assisting the people and meanwhile I took a few photos and videos of mine too.
I was pretty amused to see that this famous ancient sport was carried out carefully with great interest and passion among its' young followers. All of the pehlivans whom I asked "why are you Pehlivan?" answered pretty much the same, they said: "because this is my grand father's sport". One can easily realize, the traditional implications this sport carries and how it evokes feelings of respect and commitment among the peers. Also unlike common wrestling, the tournament can only be won by having control of eachothers lederhosen (called kisbet, made of calfskin) by putting the arm through the latter's kisbet, creating an interest scene much different then any wrestling tournament.