2. Traditional Sports & Games

Turkish wrestling is the famous sports in Turkey

Oil wrestling


Wrestling is the most important traditional sports .

Wrestling has got a lot of rules in itself.

From beginning to end it is just like a ceremony.

There are a lot of special sayings at the beginning and end of the wrestling competition.

The competition has done by the control of arbitrators.

Turkish archery


Another traditional Turkish sports is archery which is done on the horse.

And also archery is famous in Turkey without horse.

Ancient Turkish people are strong archers on the horse.

Ancient Turkish worriers were good archers and they rode horse very well.

Beside ,women also interested in archery on the horse.

Recently,people do the archery on the horse as asports in Turkey.


Jereed (Cirit) 


Jereed (also jerreed, jerid, or jerrid; Turkish: Cirit) is a traditional Turkish equestrian team sport played outdoors on horseback in which the objective is to score points by throwing a blunt wooden javelin at opposing team’s horsemen.



Matrak is an Ottoman game invented by BosniakMatrakçıNasuh in the 16th century. It is played with wooden sticks covered with leather.

The top of the sticks are rounded and slightly wider than the body resembling bowling pins. The game is a kind of combat simulation, and is played on a lawn. It was used by Ottoman soldiers practice melee combat.







The game is played by two teams both have equal number players. The teams make lines facing each other with the 20 or 25 meter distance. A circle of half meter radius is drawn between the middle of the teams.

A referee for leading the game holds up a handkerchief in his/her hand and stays in the middle of the circle. The referee starts the game by saying a number, for example “Fives!”. The fifth players of each team begin to run to the referee to catch the handkerchief first. The player who catches the handkerchief immediately tries to turn back to his/her place, because the other player tries to catch him before he arrives at his place.

If the player with the handkerchief can arrive his place, his team gets one point. If the player of the other team can reach and catch him the other team gets a point. Then the referee starts the game again by saying another number and it goes like that.



Each team has 4 players. The distance of the game field is made certain by drawing two lines on the ground. First team members stand at the middle of the field. The second team is divided and while 2 players take position behind one line, the others stand behind the opposite line.

The players behind the lines shoot the ball by hand and try to hit the players standing at the middle. If a player at the middle is shot he leaves the game. If a player of the team at the middle can catch the ball before it hits the ground, he gains a bonus life.

He can use this extra life as a credit for himself when he is shot or he can give that bonus life to another team member who was shot before. When the number of the players at the middle decreases to 1, he begins to count every shoot until ten. If still he is not shot his team wins and game starts again. After all the players at the middle are shot, the teams are changed place.



You need five round and smooth stones in 1.5-2 cm width. This is a girl game and played by 2 players. The general rule of the game is to throw up one stone and take the others according to rules while it is in the air and catch the first one at last without dropping it. The players must be agile and attentive.

At the beginning the first player gently throws the stones at the ground. She chooses one of the stones, takes it with only one touch, throw it up in the air and while it is in the air takes one stone and then catches the one in the air. By this way she has to collect the other stones one by one in the first tour. If she can manage to collect all stones without dropping them, she continues to the next tours by collecting the stones two, three and four at a time. While taking the stones, if she moves the other stones or if she drops one of the stones, she loses her turn and the next player begins her turn.

After finishing of this stage, the player starts the “bridge”. She throws the stones gently to the floor makes her bridge by touching the tips of her widely opened thumb and forefinger to the ground. The other player selects one stone as the last one. The player throws up one stone to the air and while it is in the air tries to pass the others under the bridge with two movements one by one. If she moves or touches the others she loses her turn.


The game is played by minimum 6 players. The players make groups of two. The groups stand one after the other by some distance. The players begin to hop in this order and sing the game song:

“Kestane kebap
Yemesi sevap
Acele cevap
Rap raprap”

As the song finishes, the groups try to hitto the other players in front of themwith the handkerchief in their hands. The players hit by handkerchief will be eliminated. The game continues until all the groups eliminate except one, the winner.



The children make a line. They select one as Ali Baba. Ali Baba stands in a distance facing to the children. Children ask one by one to Ali Baba as “What time is it Ali Baba?” Ali Baba tells every child a different time. Each child comes close to Ali Baba by counting the footsteps that was told by Ali Baba. The first child approaches and touches to Ali Baba will be the new Ali Baba. The game goes on like this.





This is a group game played outdoors. A player stands. The others make a circle around him or her and crouch down. The standing player holds a handkerchief in his (her) hand and turns around the circle by jumping and singing the melody of the game. The words of the melody are like this:


I sell oil, I sell honey, my chief is dead, I sell them,

Color of my chief is yellow, if I sell it’s fifteen liras,

Zambak, zumbak, turn your back and look careful

Crouching players in the circle also sing and claps their hands with him. In the middle of the song, the turning first player puts the handkerchief one of the player’s backside. If the other player realizes the handkerchief at his backside, immediately takes it and runs after the first player to catch him around the circle. If he can catch the first player before finishing his one full tour, he hits his back by handkerchief and the first player doesn’t change and continues his turn. But if the crouching player can’t catch the first player before finishing his one full tour, the first player changes and the crouching player becomes the first player. And the game goes on like this.




All the children hold their hands and make a circle. They begin to turn to one side by singing the song:



Kutu kutu pense

If it eats the apple

My friend, Ayşe

Turns her back.

The child whose name is said in the song turns his/her back. After turning back of all the children, the game continues like before, but the children turn their faces inside again this time.





The players make a circle and select one player among them. The selected one sits in the middle of the circle and he/she is called as “Old Cushion” during the game. Other players turn around him/her and sing the song:


“Old cushion show your face,

If you don’t, make a pose.

Is it beauty?

Is it ugliness?

Or being a statue near the pool?

By finishing of the song, the Old Cushion stands up and says one of these: “beauty”, “ugliness” or “being a statue near the pool”. The players make the selected pose and The Old Cushion chooses the best pose among the players according to him/her and the chosen one will be the next Old Cushion. The game goes on like this until all the players’ being Old Cushion.



(It’s an outdoor game of minimum 10 players and without any instruments)

Two players are selected by the other players as “it”s. The selected two players choose names for themselves from fruits or from flowers or from trees etc. and they don’t say these names to the others. The selected players turn face to face and hold their hands up. They begin to sing the melody of the game. The other players make a line and pass one by one under their arms.

The words of the song are like this:

Open the gate Merchant’s Chief,

What will you want for opening of the gate?

Let the one behind me be a memory

After finishing of the melody, the two players begin to catch the other players in the line one by one by counting: “First rat”, “second rat” and “the third rat is captured in the hole”. Then they secretly ask the third player to choose one of the names that the two players have. The third one makes his decision, after that, makes a line behind the player according to his/her choice, and the game goes on like this. After finishing of the last one, the two players have their teams in line behind them. Then they draw a line between teams at ground, and the two groups in lines begin to try to pull the other group to their side. The team which manages to pull the other one to their side will be the winner.

Uzun Esek: Long Donkey

Long Donkey players jump on top of the other players’ backs. Long Donkey involves two teams. Both teams form lines in which each person leans over and holds onto the person in front of them, forming one long line of backs facing upward. People from the other team jump on top of this line, attempting to knock it over. The team that remains standing with the largest number of people from the other team on top of it wins the game of Long Donkey.

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