The Turks produce the toughest wrestlers in the world, and almost every year since 1640 the best Turk grapplers of all ages have gathered for The Kirkpinar Festival, the "world series" of yagli gures (oil wrestling).
Forty Springs Videos take you right onto the broad grassy field where nearly 1,000 barefoot athletes, oiled up and stripped to the waist, compete for the gold belt of the bas pehlivan. The tournament runs for three days, with continuous matches fought in ten divisions, from schoolboys to forty-year-old master wrestlers. Turkeys president makes the final awards.
To the wail of drums and fifes these rugged fighters take the field, some twenty pairs at a time, for an all-out battle in the hot sun. There are neither time limits nor draws, and very few forbidden holds: the match continues until one is pinned or submits. The action is just as rough as American "pro" wrestling, but absolutely nothing is faked or staged. Despite the intensity of the fight and the obvious opportunities for fouling, however, these Turks treat their opponents with a brotherly affection and honor rare among combatants in any Western sporting event.
Each tape offers you two hours of intense non-stop brawling. Not recommended for the faint of heart. Highly recommended for all mat rats!
History of Kirkpinar
There are several rumours about starting of historical 633rd Kirkpinar Wrestling festival. The mostly known one is as follow:
During the campaign made by Orhan gazi in 1346 in line of invading Rumeli, his brother Süleyman Pasha with his 40 soldiers attacked onto Domuzhisar which was under possession of Byzantium, and invades the city. After invasion of other castles, 40 people frontier unit returned and had a break in Samona which is within borders of Greece at present. 40 soldiers started wrestling there. After hours of wrestling two brothers named Ali and Selim could not beat each other.
Later on, on a Hıdrelez day, the same couple started wrestling in Ahiköy field near Edirne again. Although they wrestled for a day, they could not beat each other, and continued wrestling all night under light of torches and candles. But they died there at the end.
Their friends buried them under a tree of fig therein and left. After years, when they went there they saw a fountain with abundant water on the place where the tombs of brothers were. Afterwards the people named this place "KIRKPINAR (FOURTY FOUNTAINS)".
The field within Samona village of Greece is the original Kırkpınar. After Balkan wars and World War I Kırkpınar wrestling was organized in the location called "Virantekke" located between Edirne and Mustafapaşa road. After Republic, in 1924 the wrestling organizations were held in Sarayiçi part of Edirne.
Kirkpinar wrestling competitions were held by aghas until 1928. The prizes and hosting of the guests were met by the aghas. However, in 1928 due to economical depressions suffered nationwide no one wanted being agha, organization and hosting the guests were provided by Kizilay and Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu (Cross-red and Institute of Child Care).
In 1964 Historical Kirkpinar Wrestling competitions were held by Edirne Municipality. In the same year, Mayor Tahsin SIPKA included Kırkpınar Wrestling organizations under munucipality services.
Pehlivan is a Persian word. According to Burhan-katia, its original meaning was brave (Şeci), hero (dili), but also officer, governor, huge and honest talking person is also called Pehlivan. Therefore, it has been used for different meanings in different times.
During Seljuk, the warriors being hero in wars, the Bowman achieving great success, wrestlers were also called Pehlivan, but in 16th century it was only used for sportsman. Use of Pehlivan in this meaning went on until end of reign Mahmut II's reign.
Turkish Nation like wrestling, and respect wrestler and grant a unique privilege to Pehlivan, and certainly this love and respect originates from warrior spirit and heroic feelings of Turkish nation. The love and respect shown to wrestler is because of pehlivan's being stronger than anybody, having a well built body, having a healthier appearance, heroic attitude, honest and truly personality, trusted for his words and behaviours.
During Ottoman empire period, wrestling competitions were held in the fields outside of palace for charity to be donated to charity foundations or in special places and halls of organizers, and in addition, Wedding wrestling, Ramadan wrestling, Charity wrestling competitions were also held.