Worth to see – Oil Wrestling Festival in Alanya

Events in Alanya Slider Sports in Alanya

15. Gökbel Yayla (High Plateu) Oil Wrestling Festival will be held at 20-21st of July in Alanya at the top of Taurus Mountain.

  • The wrestlers are using oil on the body that the rival can not easly grab them. The rules of tradition Turkish wresting is different than normal wrestling.
  • Its is outdoor and on the grass.
  • Over 700 wrestlers will join the championship
  • At the top of Taurus Mountain the place called “Gökbel Yaylası”
  • The sponsor who has paid the most money for the game is called “güreş agası”
  • At 21st of July in the evening, popular Turkish singer Cengiz Kurtoğlu and Hüsnü Şenlendirici will perform and the entrance will be free.
  • Wrestling will start at 09:00  at 22nd of July.
  • The way to Gökbel Yayla (Place of Festival) is from Mahmutlar up to Taurus mountaion. Afther the tunnels, you will see the signs to on the way to Gökbel. It is 62.8 km to Alanya and It takes appr. 1 hour 38 minutes. (for the map to Gökbel:http://alanyagokbelguresleri.com/)
  • There is no special service to festival area. You may rent a car to drive up to mountaion.
  • You have chance to see nature in Alanya.

Mayor of Alanya  Adem Murat Yücel said that we have been complited the preparation of the Oil Wrestling Festival. There will be free of charge public music concert at the first day and the second day we will see the wrestslers on the grass. I am inviting you for an unforgateble festival. Welcome.

The head sponsor of Gökbel Oil Wrestling (Güreş Ağası) Kasımoğlu Kerim Yılmaz has also invited all the people in Alanya and foriegners who wants to see different than what they see in the world. Yılmaz said that this is our tradition and we would like to tranfer it to our new generation besides we would like to show our traditions to foreigners.


Oil wrestling (Turkish: Yağlı güreş), also called grease wrestling, is the Turkish national sport. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. The term “güreş” is shared with other forms of wrestling practiced by Turkic-speakers across Europe and Central Asia, such as the Uzbek kurash, Tuvan khuresh and Tatar köräş. The wrestlers, known as pehlivan (Persian: پهلوان‎‎ meaning “hero” or “champion”) wear a type of hand-stitched lederhosen called a kisbet (sometimes kispet), which is traditionally made of water buffalo hide, and most recently has been made of calfskin.

Unlike Olympic wrestling, oil wrestling matches may be won by achieving an effective hold of the kisbet. Thus, the pehlivan aims to control his opponent by putting his arm through the latter’s kisbet. To win by this move is called paça kazık. Originally, matches had no set duration and could go on for one or two days until one man was able to establish his superiority, but in 1975 the duration was capped at 40 minutes for the baspehlivan and 30 minutes for the pehlivan category. If there is no winner, play continues for another 15 minutes—10 minutes for the pehlivan category, wherein scores are kept to determine the victor.


Cognate forms of folk wrestling practiced by Turkic-speakers are found throughout Western Eurasia (i.e. Europe and Central Asia) under the names Köraş, Khuresh, Kurash, etc. Oil wrestling can be traced back to the ancient Sumer and Babylon. Greco-Roman traditions also point to the practice of oil wrestling.

Turkish wrestlers started covering themselves according to Islamic law (between the navel and the knees) after the 10th century. The Turkish word for wrestling can be traced back to the old Oghuz Turkic languages, which originate from the Eurasian steppes, where wrestling has also been practiced. After the conquest of Anatolia by Seljuk Turks, a form of traditional freestyle wrestling called karakucak (literally “black hug”) was popularized, where special leather clothing was sanctioned and wrestlers commenced the activity by pouring olive oil on their bodies in order to make it harder for the wrestler grip one’s opponent. This form continued to what is today known as Yağlı Güreş or Turkish oil wrestling. In the Ottoman Empire, wrestlers learned the art in special schools called tekke (تکیه), which were not merely athletic centres, but also spiritual centres.

Wrestlers oil one another prior to matches as a demonstration of balance and mutual respect. If a man defeats an older opponent, he kisses the latter’s hand (a sign of respect for elders in Turkey).

Matches are held all over Turkey throughout the year, but in early summer, around 1000 competitors gather in Kırkpınar for an annual three-day wrestling tournament to determine who will be the baspehlivan (“chief wrestler”) of Turkey. Ottoman chroniclers and writers attest that the Kırkpınar Games have been held every year since 1362, making them the world’s oldest continually sanctioned sporting competition.The games have been cancelled only about 70 times. The original site was some 35 kilometres (22 mi) distant. In 1924, they were moved to the present location after the Balkan War.

There are some organized oil wrestling competitions outside Turkey, particularly by the Royal Dutch Power Sport Federation (KNKF Koninklijke Nederlandse Krachtsport en Fitnessfederatie) in the Netherlands.

What Visit Alanya says: This is absolutly different experince in your life that we higly recommend you to follow the wrestling and the fest.


1 Comment

  1. thanks for the great article, keep up the good work


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