Turkey lies at the interface of three continents and has always been the main location where a variety of traditional and modern sports have developed. As the host of a variety of international sports organizations, Turkey also promotes Anatolian culture by introducing its ancestral sports to the world. As successful Turkish athletes become known around the world, the focus of the sport is growing day by day.
Wrestling: Wrestling, the most famous traditional Turkish sport, has been around since the 13th century BC. The sport that wrestlers called “Pehlivan” were created to show their strength to society, and is now an important cornerstone of Anatolian culture. The most famous of the wrestling competitions, the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival brings wrestlers and followers of this ancestral sport together.
Weightlifting: Weightlifting was developed during the Ottoman period by young athletes who wanted to become head wrestlers and therefore had to strengthen their arms. Today it is one of the most important sports in Turkey. Weightlifters like Naim Süleymanoğlu and Halil Mutlu have demonstrated Turkey’s success in weightlifting internationally and paved the way for other young and successful weightlifters today.
Javelin throw: The javelin throw, which has its origins in the time of the migration of the Turks from Central Asia to Anatolia, was a fighting game in which a spear was successfully thrown at the opponent while riding. The javelin was considered the most important game at festivals and ceremonies during the Ottoman period and was also popular in Europe and the Arab countries.
Archery: Bows and arrows, which were once used as an important weapon of war in Central Asia, are now used as sports equipment. During the Ottoman period, the Okmeydani district in Istanbul was specially designated for the development of Turkish archery.
Riding: Riding and riding are among the most important values for Turks. Horseback riding is a very important sport for Turks as their ancestors tamed horses and made their first migration from Central Asia to Anatolia on horses. Nowadays the Gazi race is one of the most important and famous horse races in Turkey.
Hunting: Turkey, which is both rich in nature and biodiversity, is a perfectly suitable place for hunting. Hunting is very popular in Turkey and is only allowed at certain times of the year. It is limited to certain types.