Camel Fight, A Traditional Sport In Turkey

Camel fight (or camel wrestling), given the docile nature of camels is not what you would expect people to be excited about. However, in Turkey camel fighting is a traditional sport that goes back 2000 years by Turkish nomads and marks festivity.

Camel Fight - Organized traditional sport in Turkey

Camel Fight – Organized traditional sport in Turkey

Male camels are put in a big enclosed area with the owners encouraging their camels. To win a camel has to pin his opponent down using its neck as leverage.

Camel Wrestling in Turkey

Camel Wrestling in Turkey

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As you would imagine getting these slow and generally calm animal to fight is quite a challenge. To overcome this problem locals organise camel fighting in the mating season when these animals are in heat. They further improve their chances of seeing a good fight by having a female camel walk before the males. Now that the males have something to fight for. Unfortunately some owners are said to starve their camels before the fights to get them to be more aggressive.  Each fight lasts for about 10 minutes.

Camel Wresting parade in Turkey

Camel Wresting parade in Turkey

The best part of the camel fight is the festive atmosphere it creates. Locals and tourists flock not to see any aggressive fights, but to cheer, meet others, share stories and just have a good time. You should also stick around for the pre-fight camel wresting parade where the decorated camels are marched.

Camel Wresting market around it

Camel Wresting market around it

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Camel Fight Location & Date

Your best bet to see a live camel fight is in the city of Selçuk, Turkey. Besides camel wresting Selçuk is famous for its ancient ruins and historic monuments so as a tourist in Turkey you are bound to visit the city. The camel fight season goes from December to April every year in the region and in Selçuk events are held in mid January. To get to Selçuk, take a flight from Istanbul to Izmir and then a train to Selçuk. It shouldn’t cost more than $100 for the trip.

Other places where Camel Fights are organised include: Iran and Pakistan.

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