Sounds, noises, voices and other good vibrations from Turkey

Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Kırkpınar oil-wrestling tournament

In Entertainment on 13/07/2011 at 16:31

Last weekend, I was in Edirne (Eastern Thrace) for the annual oil-wrestling tournament. Kırkpınar, one of the country’s oldest traditions, has been staged there for 650 years. Three days in a row, hundreds of wrestlers pour olive oil onto each other and fight in black pants made of cowhide (named “kispet”). Some are as young as 11 years old. But the dream of every pehlivan (wrestler) is to become a “chief wrestler”, a “başpehlivan”.

This year’s champion is a 24-year-old Goliath from Antalya, Ali Gürbüz. He claimed his first title (and the 14-carat gold belt) against Recep Kara, a four-time winner in the Kırkpınar arena. But there is more to the story: Ali’s father, Recep, won the gold belt in that same arena 23 years ago. He died a few months later, when Ali was a one-year-old kid. Seconds after his victory, Ali Gürbüz toured the grassy field holding his father’s photo.

Kırkpınar entered the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage last November.

Click to learn more about the Kırkpınar legend and wrestling techniques.


Farming in Küçükkuyu

In Nature on 16/06/2011 at 17:25

Erkan and Tamahine Alemdar used to live in the city. Eight years ago, the couple bought a piece of land in Mıhlı, a few kilometers away from Küçükkuyu, in the Kazdağı region of Turkey where Erkan’s grandmother grew up.

“We wanted to have a self-sustainable lifestyle, grow some vegetables, live in nature, learn about plants and herbs and the olive trees” Tamahine told me when I visited their farm last summer. The Alemdars constantly share their family life with volunteers from all over the world. Every day, except Sunday, they work for five hours with a dozen other volunteers in return for free room and board.

Graham and Scott, two young Canadians, had signed up for three weeks at the Dedetepe farm. When I met them, they were building stonewalls around olive trees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Camel wrestling in Aydın

In Entertainment on 14/06/2011 at 15:32

I was in Cine, an Aegean city 35 km south of Aydin last February to attend a local camel wrestling festival. The tradition dates back at least 2,500 years and is still very popular in the Aeagean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions of Turkey. Camels are wrestlers as much as beauty peagants. They carry multicoloured, bright decorations, bells and bobbles. Most owners will tell you they love their camels as much as their children. Some even name their animals after their kids.

Read the rest of this entry »