year since 1640 Turkey’s best wrestlers - men and boys
- have gathered for their national championships on a grassy
field near the capitol of the old Ottoman Empire. The
tournament is called “Kirkpinar” or “Forty
Springs” in honor of a 17th century wreslting legend.
Nearly 1,000 barefoot athletes compete oiled up and stripped to the waist.
The all out style and the oiled trunks go back to the world - famouns Jarissaries,
an elite fraternity of bodyguards to the Imperial Sultans.
For three days the field is crowded with simultaneous matches
in eleven divisions ranging from school kids to forty-year old
masters. At the end of the tournament Turkey’s president
crowns the champions.