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Historical Foundations of Zurkhane[1]

zurkhane athletics

There have been a number of studies on the historical foundations of Zurkhane athletics after Iranian Parliamentary Movement[2]. Iranian traditional athletics were called Zurkhane after introduction of modern sports in late 19th and early 20th century.

The title probably refers to special costumes including the leather shorts, athletic wrestling games, and tools like Mil which resembles maul and Kabaada resembling arc and Sang which is like shields in ancient Iranian army and also the sound of Zarb inciting athletes just like drums in ancient wars.

On the time of appearance of this name, the games were played in countries of common civilizational background including Middle East to South and West Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Turkey). These countries have been the lands of people of common race for many centuries. Years later they were divided in two groups; one heading toward India and the other called Aryans, meaning loyal friend, settled in western Asia including current Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and Caucasia. They named their land Iran meaning the land of Aryans. Aryans included different groups:Medes in Western and North Western Iran, Pars in south and a group called Parts settled in Fars region and north east Iran. These regions included a flat plateau with fertile valleys that made them hardworking people and brave fighters founding one of the greatest empires of the time during 558 – 331 B.C.

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi


[1] Traditional Iranian Gymnasium

[2]Mashrutiat = Iranian Movement ending monarchy and establishing parliament 

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