Camel Wrestling Festival

 Camel wrestling in Turkey dates back over 2400 years and originated among the nomadic Turkic Tribes. Today, Turkey’s camel wrestling league holds more than 30 events across the country during the season November to March. The largest event being the annual Selcuk Camel Wrestling Festival held in the UNESCO Heritage area of Selcuk and Ephesus. The festival involves a parade and a camel beauty pageant and attracts more than 150 camel owners and more than 20,000 spectators.The camels are bred and trained from a young age specifically for competition. Wrestling bouts typically last approximately 10 minutes, handlers surround the camels, to break the camels up if the bout turns too violent. The winner is determined when one of the camels, either runs away or is wrestled to the ground. The camels are very valuable, and a successful camel can fetch a price of more than 20,000 USD. The camels are treated like family members by many owners and despite the wrestling sometimes getting violent the camels are generally not hurt during the bouts. The events held on Sundays have become very popular with tourists and are seen as an authentic Turkish cultural experience. The camel wrestling is also one of the most popular forms of weekend entertainment for many Turkish residents in rural towns. Parties can go on well into the night with locals enjoying music and drinking the traditional Turkish alcohol Raki. 

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