Wrestler

The word ‘pehlivan’ which refers to ‘wrestler’ is a Persian. Although it means brave (Şeci), stout hearted (dili) according to Burhan-katia, also a determined, governor, bodily-built and trustworthy person is called a Pehlivan (Wrestler) as well. For this reason, it has been used for various meanings accordingly.

At the time of the Seljuks, the warriors, who behaved heroically, the marksmen, the wrestlers and the mace men who gained success, were referred to as “Pehlivans” as well. However, the most important is the fact that this title has been used only for sportsmen since the beginning of the 16th century. The usage of the word “Pehlivan” in this meaning lasted until the end of the period of Sultan II Mahmut.

During the time of the Ottomans, the wrestling contests outside the palace took place in fairgrounds, at weddings, in societies in the aid of charity groups or in the private places and salons of organizers who had gained a profession. In addition to this, there were wrestling contests as Wedding Wrestling, Ramadan Wrestling, Wrestling for the Aid of Charities.

Head Wrestler

Ahmet TAŞÇI, the head wrestler in 1990 – 1992 / 1995 – 1997 / 1999 – 2001. Has been awarded with the Golden Belt many times.

He is the wrestler who has won the most prestigious award of Kırkpınar and who has been the victor of the head wrestler wrestling contests.

The wrestler, who receives this title, is the head wrestler of Turkey for 1 year and is awarded with the golden belt.

The wrestler that progresses to the head wrestler position three years consecutively wins the golden belt for good.

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Lord


One of the essential components of the Kırkpınar wrestling contests is the institution of magnanimity.

In the past, Kırkpınar Lords were the ones to call the wrestlers to wrestle, arrange the contests, entertain the guests, provide food and accommodation, ensure the wrestling contests to take place in accordance with the customs and the traditions, give awards…

However, today, because the “Kırkpınar Lord” cannot afford all of these activities, and because it’s been carried to an activity status, most of the expenditure is covered by the Municipalities.

Kirkpinar Golden Belts

The award given to the Kırkpınar head wrestler is the most prestigious award of Kırkpınar. The wrestler that progresses to the head wrestler holds the golden belt for a year.

The wrestler that progresses to the head wrestler three years consecutively holds the golden belt for good.

Currently, the Golden Belts are having made by the Municipalities.

Wrestler Clothing Kispet

The first of all the items each wrestler needs before wrestling is the clothing. The belt of the clothing, made of leather from water buffalo, water buffalo calf or calf, is four fingers’ width, and thick. This part of the clothing that includes a thick rope provide a tight fit, is called a rim.

The part of the clothing that sits below the kneecap is called the flare. A material made of felt, which is called ‘paçabent’, is placed between the flare and the skin. The leather part is placed on top of this material and it’s bound tightly with a packthread.

If the flare is not bound tightly, it becomes easier to achieve a victory due to the easy finger holding.

After the wrestling, the oiled-up clothing is placed and kept in a tote bag.

Wrestling Oiling

The wrestlers get well oiled up so as their opponents can’t get a firm grip. The wrestlers get oiled up around caldrons filled with oil and water placed in a suitable part of the wrestling field.

The wrestler, using his right hand, first oils up his left shoulder, chest, arm and clothing. Later, he repeats the same action with his left hand.

In the mean time, the wrestlers oil up each other’s backs. After the wrestling has started, the wrestlers can get oil and water anytime they want from the persons carrying oil around the field.

Wrestling Announcers

He is the person who introduces all the wrestlers to the spectators and who starts the wrestling contest. The announcer, who may also be referred to as “Salavatçı”, introduces the names, titles and the wrestling skills of the wrestlers who are matched by drawing lots, or the jury, in suitable verses and prayers.

This prayer varies according to different regions. A master-apprentice tradition is followed among the announcers as among the wrestlers. Sadık Hodja (Atılgan), the imam of Edirne Ayşekadın Mosque, and Şirin Mustafa are among well-known announcers. On Friday, the starting day of the wrestling contests, after visiting the wrestlers’ graveyard, the wrestlers head to Sarayiçi following the chanting of the Mevlit in Selimiye Mosque and the wrestling contests are initiated starting from small sizes with the prayer of the announcer.

Tote Bag

The clothing is carried and kept in a bag made of walrush called tote bag. The wrestler, who has completed his contest, can be recognized when seen hanging his tote bag on the wall.

Red Candle

The invitation symbol of Kırkpınar is a “Red-Bottom Candle”. In the old times, the society was invited to Kırkpınar by hanging “Red-Bottom Candles” inside cafes in cities and villages.

In other words, only “Red-Bottom Candle” was used as an invitation.

Salapur Clothing

The wrestlers, who wrestle in Kırkpınar Er Meydanı, use şalapur cloth to wipe their faces and their eyes.

The amount o şalapur cloth used during wrestling contests, which last 3 days, is about 1000 meters.