Skip to main content

Ethnosports festival: A celebration of tradition, Turkish history

at a time of rising interest in Turkic and Ottoman history, an Istanbul festival seeks to revive a number of ancient and cherished sports, games and traditions.

Ethnosports Culture Festival the brainchild of the World Ethnosports Confederation led by Bilal Erdoğan, an archery enthusiast and son of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taps into a renewed passion for history among younger generations.

The four-day festival is scheduled to start on May 11 in Istanbul's Yenikapı Square, a vast space befitting the occasion since it also hosted the large crowd that convened after the July 15 coup attempt in 2016 in a sign of unity against the putschists. Here are some of the games that will be featured at the festival:


Gökbörü, or kökbörü, is a traditional equestrian sport of Central Asia. Traditionally, the game was played during wedding ceremonies and local festivals, and has managed to survive under the name "catching the prize" in certain regions of Anatolia. The goal of this game is to catch a runaway goat on horseback. The riders take their positions in a defined circular play area and ride their horses towards the goat, called a "şikar," and try to catch the goat by sliding on their saddles. The rider that catches the goat flees from the other riders as they try to snatch the goat from him. If the rider manages to ride a full circle around the play area with the goat, he scores and puts down the goat. Another rider catches the goat and the game goes on. The rider who scores the most points wins.

Belt wrestling

Belt wrestling is a popular game among Crimean Turks and is performed on soft soil or in a green field accompanied by drums and a clarion similar to other types of wrestling. Belt wrestling matches take place for entertainment, and the wrestlers are categorized in three groups according to their height and weight. Each wrestler tries to put his opponent's shoulders on the ground by pulling him by the belt that is wrapped around his opponent's waist.

Aba wrestling

Aba wrestling is one of the oldest wrestling types in Central Asia. The wrestlers wear an "aba," a coarse woolen cloth, and wrap special belts around their waist before they wrestle. This ancient sport is still practiced in Turkey's southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Hatay, however, it technically varies from region to region. Aba wrestling is believed to be the first example of judo and pants wrestling in Sweden as aba wrestling is the world's first known wrestling type performed with clothes.

Mounted javelin

Mounted javelin is an ancestral Turkish sport, originating in Central Asia, and has been played for centuries. The game was created for mounted warfare practice, but nowadays is mostly played for show. The javelin thrower throws the javelin at his opponent, while the mounted opponent makes precise moves on horseback to avoid the javelin. Some sportsmen follow their opponents until they get a good line of sight and then throw their javelin. If they hit their target, they score. The scoring is determined by the sportsmen prior to the game.

Mounted archery

The history of mounted archery goes back centuries among the Turks. Throughout history, Turkish mounted archers were known for their ability to turn and shoot their arrows while riding. In the past, hunting was the main source of income and livelihood for many, and warfare helped Turkish mounted archery improve. Aside from its importance in warfare and hunting, archery was also significant in Turkish society. For instance, archery competitions often took place during national holidays, religious ceremonies and weddings.


Mangala is a mind and strategy game that influenced a large region, from the tribes in Central Asia to the Ottomans. The most important feature of the game is that it can be played by people of every age, and that the players are not restricted by place or materials. The game is played by two players with 48 stones on a 2-by-6 or 2-by-7 mangala board or in small pits. For setup, five pieces are placed in each pit. On a turn, the player takes all the pieces from one of his or her pits and drops them one at a time into the following pits counterclockwise. The game ends when all the pits are empty. The player who captures at least 25 pieces wins the game. Vision, patience, planning and a cunning mind are required to win this game of strategy.
dailysabah news


Popular posts from this blog

International Schools in Turkey

You will find below a list of the most popular international and bilingual schools for expats in Turkey with fee information. It includes nursery schools, primary and secondary (high) schools and you will find the right school to prepare for International Baccalaureate, and other diploma in Turkey. Some schools will follow the American or British curriculums with English speaking programs while others are regulated under the French, Italian or German education system.

Education in Turkey
Education in Turkey consists of a network of primary and secondary schools financed and operated by the state. Schooling is free and compulsory for 12 years, commonly referred to as "4+4+4". This means 4 years primary education (lst level), 4 years primary education (2nd level) and 4 years secondary education. Students are generally taught in Turkish. Children begin their primary education in the first month of September following their sixth birthday. A primary education diploma is awarded at …

top 10 Beautiful village in turkey

Filled with stunning natural beauty, from tranquil beaches to dramatic mountains, and an array of well-preserved architecture, Turkey is one of the most extraordinary countries to visit. Here we list the 10 unmissable cities and towns in the country.


Located in northern Turkey, the small city of Amasya is dramatically situated in a narrow valley on the banks of the Yeşilırmak river, against a backdrop of rocky mountains. Amasya is said to be the place where one of the most famous tales of Turkish folklore, Ferhat and Şirin, takes place. According to legend, Ferhat was in love with Şirin, a beautiful princess, and dug tunnels beneath the mountains to bring water to her father’s palace so he could win his favor. Even today, the stunning landscape of the town is perfectly suited to the romantic tale. Above the town lie several tombs cut into the face of the rock, while the town itself is filled with beautiful Ottoman style houses and antique bridges.


A small jewel of an …

Turkey’s Ibn Haldun, Malaysia’s International Al Bukhary universities partner up

rkey's Ibn Haldun University and Malaysia's Al Bukhary International University have partnered up with a collaboration protocol as the two states look to further their cooperation as Muslim-majority countries. As part of the partnership, a collaborative education program will begin with the start of the new academic semester in September. In the first day of partnership, an event was organized in Alor Setar, Malaysia, where the Al Bukhary University is located. Various educational units of the university were introduced to the audience during this event. A ceremony in honor of the students who passed the English training class was also held. The International Al Bukhary University's campus is in the capital of Malaysia's Kedah state, Alor Setar. The foundation-run university is known for its strong infrastructure and support for successful international students who mainly come from Africa, Asia and other countries in the region. Turkey's Ibn Haldun University is based i…