“Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival” is one of the oldest sport activities in the World.
In 2008 Kırkpınar Oil Wrestlings has won the award of EDEN” European Destinations of Excellence” which is organized in Europe and Turkey participated for the first time and in the date of 16th November 2010, Kırkpınar Oil Wrestlings was inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
In one hand, Kırkpınar Oil Wrestlings is making people come close and solidarity and in the other hand implemeting an important social function on individuals to distinguish their cultures. Sarayiçi Kırkpınar Men’s Field is historical place where the Başpehlivan of Turkey is designated. In addition to this, for the pehlivans come from all over the country and aim to be successful, It is a place to show themselves and fight for to have a good place in the society.
According to the beginning of Kırkpınar Oil Wrestlings Legend; In 1357, during campaign of Orhan Gazi to seize Rumelia, Süleyman Pasha, the son of Orhan Gazi, conquer Edirne and then he scout around Edirne. The vanguard of forty soldiers returns and takes a break in Samona which is now Greek territory. Forty warriors start wrestling there and it lasts for hours. Through hours of wrestling, which is rumored to be the names of the two brothers Ali and Selim weren’t able to defeat each other. Years later on a Hıdrellez day (Spring Celebration), the brothers start wrestling again on the meadows of Ahıköy near Edirne. Brother wrestler, weren’t able to defeat other one despite wrestling all day, continue to wrestle in the light of candles and lanterns during the night. However, they are killed outright.
They were buried under a fig tree in the same place by their friends. After many years, their friends saw a lush spring at the location of the tomb of the two wrestlers. After this event, this region was called as KIRKPINAR by the people in memory of these two wrestlers.( Kırk means 40 and Pınar means spring). The name of the area in the pasture of Samouna Village in Greece is Kırkpınar meadow.
The conquest of Edirne by Murat I in 1361 is the starting date of Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling.
At the end of the Balkan Wars and World War I, Kırkpınar Wrestlings were organized at the place called as “Virantekke” between Edirne and Mustafapaşa Way. In 1924, after the establishment of the Republic, wrestlings were began to be organized in Sarayiçi locality.
Wrestlings had been organized by Kırkpınar Agas until 1928. The gifts in the wretlings and the entertainment of the guests had also been paid by Kırkpınar Agas. Since nobody applied for being Kırkpınar Aga due to economic hardship occuring in the country in 1928, the organization of wrestling and the entertainment of guests had been undertaken by Red Crescent, Child Protection Agency, Municipality of Edirne and Republican People’s Party for varios periods.