Get greasy at the Oil Festival in Turkey

Oil Wrestling Championships - 21 Jun 2014


Every year since 1640 Turkey’s best wrestlers have gathered once a year for the oldest wrestling contest in the world. Once held in a grassy field of Kirkpinar, the world-renowned Janissaries (an elite fraternity of body guards to the imperial Sultans) trained and mastered in the art as preparation for combat. Today, about 1,000 barefoot wrestlers take part in a ‘sudden death’ style competition wearing only a pair of leather trousers and a lathering of omega 3 rich olive oil.

Competitors pair off, grappling and struggling to gain a grip on their opponent. Tactical moves include a hand down the side of the pants trick and the common schoolboy ‘wedgie’ (grab, lift, flip and throw) to pin ones opponent to the ground! The winner goes on to fight another winner, and so on, until there is only one wrestler left standing.

Originally matches had no set duration and could go on for one or two days. Competitors in the fierce June/ July sunshine must have fried, so thankfully in 1975, matches were capped to a maximum duration of 40 minutes.

Oil wrestling is a revered national sport, which is over 5 centuries old, with champions becoming celebrities and the Turkish president making the journey to present the prized champions crown. A colourful fair also accompanies the event with market stalls selling all variety of curios, gypsy music, singing and dancing - a Bohemian atmosphere indeed!

Additional Information

  • Join us at the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Championships, which will coincide with our Aegean Explorer, Istanbul to the Med, Turkey Unplugged, Turkey & Tutankhamen and Turkey Discovered tours departing 21 June 2014.
  • Arrangements are as follows: Friday 20 June 2014, arrive Istanbul and included transfer to your hotel and overnight. After breakfast on Sat 21 June 2014, we travel to Edirne to take in the action, explore the fair, have lunch and watch the semi-final bouts taking place all afternoon.

What's Included

  • Our Oil Wrestling Festival package includes:
  • Airport arrival transfer to hotel
  • 1 night accommodation 4 star hotel on Fri 20 June 2014
  • Private return journey from Istanbul to Edirne, 2.5 - 3 hour coach trip each way
  • Escorted by a professional English speaking tour guide providing history and background to the event plus a little ringside commentary on the day.
  • Lunch in Edirne
  • Entrance fee to Wrestling stadium for the Semi-final matches

Applicable Prices

Dates Price/Person Single Supp.
Oil Wrestling Kirkpinar All Dates USD $449 USD $119

Available Dates

Please note that this bolt-on is only available during the following periods.

  19th Jun 2014 - 22nd Jun 2014

Oil Wrestling Kirkpinar is available on the following trips

Group Tours

Get greasy at the Oil Festival in Turkey

Special Offers
The On The Go Theatre
Highlights of Turkey and the evocative ANZAC day dawn service