Thousands gather to see camels wrestling in Mediterranean town
Despite the chilling weather, more than 100 camels, their owners and spectators from the neighboring provinces and towns attended the event.
The camels wrestled each other in short duels, trying to butthead or bite one another, but handlers separated them with long sticks each time they came close to physically hurting themselves.
Some camels, not wanting to wrestle, fled the field during the event, which is organized solely as part of a tradition and not as a competition to choose a winner.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Antalya’s Elmalı Mayor Halil Öztürk said that camel wrestling is a part of nomadic Turkish culture.
“After 29 years, we have made our locals witness this cultural activity which is on the verge of being forgotten and disappearing in Elmalı,” Öztürk said, vowing that the events will be held on a time with more favorable weather conditions.
Camels have been of critical importance in Turkey in past centuries, but the animals are now largely consigned to use in wrestling competitions or touristic purposes.
Authorities permit organizations to conduct such events under the conditions that they are organized to preserve cultural values and that the camels are not harmed.