Iran Tours
Iran Tours
Iran Tours

Iran's Zurkhaneh and Traditional Sports

Some sports like polo, wrestling, and zurkhaneh, which are now popular in the world, were originally and historically started in Iran.

Polo is the most ancient one and is a team sport that both entertains the players and also uplifts the strength of their bodies and souls. Four horse riders each carrying a mallet do their best to hit a ball into the rival team's goal.


It is estimated that this ancient sport has been played for at least three thousand years with its surge of popularity in the Mongols era.

Polo in Iran was commonly played by the army officers and the kings. And now "Naghsh-e-Jahan Square" in Isfahan, that is about nine hundred years old, is the oldest existing polo field in the country.


Pahlevani (zurkhaneh) sport is also a traditional sport that challenges the body strength of men. It is considered to be the oldest form of body building and is done in special places called zurkhaneh (house of strength).


The tools and weights that are used in zurkhaneh sport resemble the weapons which were used in ancient wars. The heavy wooden clubs (mils) resemble mace, the bow-shaped iron weights (kabbadeh) resemble bow, the hefty wooden boards (sang) resemble shield, and even the drum (tonbak) that is played for the athletes resonate the ancient wars’ drums beating.


Zurkhaneh’s Morshed (the mentor) beats the drum and recites religious and epic poems throughout the whole workout session. The spectators sit around the ring (Goud) and watch the exercises such press-ups, whirling, lifting, etc done by the Pahlevans.


Pahlavani sports have their own unique rules like respecting the more experienced and the elderly, and having a pure soul and a clean body.


Pahlevani wrestling is also another Pahlevani sport that has its own unique rules, suit, and techniques. Both zurkhaneh sport and Pahlevani wrestling have been registered in UNESCO as intangible historic heritage.

9/10/2023 1:17:38 AM

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