Zurkhaneh sports or ancient sports are one of the oldest manifestations of ancient Iranian culture. Ancient sports are a collection of physical movements to cultivate the body and spiritual teachings to promote the soul, which are intertwined with moral principles and make ordinary people heroes. The Heroism and ancient or zurkhaneh sports, have been registered worldwide by UNESCO in the name of Iran.
A history of zurkhaneh sports as long as heroism
Thousands of years ago, heroes were considered the most valuable social classes in Iran. The heroes were placed after the Zoroastrian clerics and were popular with the general public. Since warfare was one of the values of the ancient world, Heroes were proficient in a variety of martial arts techniques. Gradually, martial arts became intertwined in religious sports and took on a dramatic form. A hero is not only a skilled warrior and a strong athlete, but also a master of spiritual skills. The hero must also be equipped with moral qualities such as chivalry, hospitality, arresting the weak, helping the poor, humility and openness.
Mixing with Shiite beliefs in zurkhaneh sports
Given that the majority of Iranians are followers of the Shiite religion, the beliefs of this religion are very evident in this sport. Dedication to Shiite Imams, especially Imam Ali (as) and Imam Hussein (as), has become the basis of many Zurkhaneh rituals (special places for ancient sports). This sport is usually performed by beating the instructor of Zurkhaneh (the manager and one of the elders of Zurkhaneh) and he recites poems regularly. In many of these poems, Islamic beliefs and religious imams and elders such as Imam Ali (AS) and Hazrat Abolfazl (AS) are the main focus of the poems. Zurkhaneh is a place to strengthen the sportsmanship, humility and avoid arrogance. Zurkhaneh sports were held indoors, and the building resembled places of worship where Zurkhanehs have emerged since ancient times. With the advent of Islam and the emphasis on military training for boys, the issue of exercising became more serious, and after the Mongol invasion, Zurkhaneh was established, and in the seventh century, Zurkhanehs became in its current form. According to some sources, Pouria Vali founded the first Zurkhaneh.
Beautiful and meaningful architecture of Zurkhaneh
The entrance door of the Zurkhaneh is designed to be smaller than normal doors, so that people enter with humility when athletes are entering, and the roof of the Zurkhaneh is tall and domed, resembling temples and mosques. Zurkhaneh pit, which is the place where Zurkhaneh sports movements are performed, is made in an octagonal shape, which is located about 70 cm below the floor level of Zurkhaneh hall. In order to prevent injuries to athletes, the entire edge of the pit is covered with wood or soft plastic. In the area around the pit, there are platforms for spectators and a special place for sports equipment You can visit a Zurkhaneh in Iran and get acquainted with the rich Iranian Islamic culture and the beautiful architecture of this country.
Zurkhaneh sports and today’s place in the world of sport
This sport has a federation in Iran. There are also several Zurkhaneh in many parts of Iran. National, Asian and international competitions are also held every year with the participation of teams from other Asian countries. Today, in many universities around the world, this sport is introduced and studied in the field of physical education. It is interesting to know that some traditional Iranian men have some Zurkhaneh equipment in their homes and exercise at home without attending Zurkhaneh.