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Thousands turn out for CAMEL wrestling tournament in Turkey dating back more than 2,000 years 

On the third Sunday of every January, the people of Selcuk in Turkey gather for a ‘traditional and unique experience’. 

Alongside the swathes of people, dozens of camels join in the festivities in Pamucak Arena for a wrestling competition now in its 37th installment. 

The event puts together two bull (male) camels with a female camel on heat nearby that the males fight for. The festival takes place about 7 km away from Selcuk in western Turkey and can last until March. 

Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival took place today in the Aegean town of Selcuk, near Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey in front of thousands of spectators. 

Wrestling camels fight at Pamucak arena during the annual Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival in Aegean town of Selcuk

The camels fight it out for the female, leaning on each other to push the other one down in scenes that can become grisly. 

Camel wrestling is a sport in which two male Tülu camels (breed mixtures) wrestle in response to a female camel in heat being led before them. 

It is most common in the Aegean region of Turkey, but is also found in the Marmara and Mediterranean regions of the country. 

The Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in Turkey dates back over 2400 years and originated among the nomadic Turkic Tribes

The Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in Turkey dates back over 2400 years and originated among the nomadic Turkic Tribes

A man tries to stop a camel as it refused to fight during the contest of Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in the town of Selcuk

A man tries to stop a camel as it refused to fight during the contest of Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in the town of Selcuk

Camels are seen wrestling at Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

Camels are seen wrestling at Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions, according to Selcuckephesus. 

The winning beast will have submitted its opponent in three ways. By making them scream, retreat or fall.

There’s also the equivalent of boxing’s throwing in the towel where a camel owner can chuck a rope into the middle of the battlefield to call off the bout. 

In the heat of the tournament, camels spew foamy saliva in their excitement. Spectators are warned about this as well as urine

In the heat of the tournament, camels spew foamy saliva in their excitement. Spectators are warned about this as well as urine

Huge camels are seen wrestling at Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

Huge camels are seen wrestling at Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

Also like boxing, camels wrestle each other when they’re in the same weight class. 

In these detailed images, the camels can often be seen spewing a white saliva from their mouths. This is something that occurs because of the excitement. 

But it’s not all grit and fluids, which can include the camels spraying urine,  the locals and those from further afield love the pomp and ceremony with the occasion. 

People are seen trying to hold a camel. Like boxing, camels wrestle each other when they're in the same weight class

People are seen trying to hold a camel. Like boxing, camels wrestle each other when they’re in the same weight class

The day before the real action, the camels are dressed to impress and paraded through town accompanied by musicians following them. 

The Selcuk Camel wrestling festival 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. 

Camels also wrestle in the wild, so the practice occurred before it was first organized by nomads. 

The day before the real action, the camels are dressed to impress and paraded through town accompanied by musicians following them. Camels during a heated bout pictured today 

A drone photo shows the aerial view of Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

A drone photo shows the aerial view of Wrestling Field of Pamucak during the 37th Selcuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival

The camels can often be seen spewing a white saliva from their mouths. This is something that occurs because of the excitement

The camels can often be seen spewing a white saliva from their mouths. This is something that occurs because of the excitement

Today, Turkey's camel wrestling league holds more than 30 events across the country during the season November to March

Today, Turkey’s camel wrestling league holds more than 30 events across the country during the season November to March

The Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in Turkey dates back over 2400 years and originated among the nomadic Turkic Tribes

The Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in Turkey dates back over 2400 years and originated among the nomadic Turkic Tribes

A group of men inluding festival workers try to calm and two beats in vain as huge crowds of people watch from the banks

A group of men inluding festival workers try to calm and two beats in vain as huge crowds of people watch from the banks

A drone photo shows the aerial view of Wrestling Field of Pamucak and the expanse of the grounds and attendance 

A drone photo shows the aerial view of Wrestling Field of Pamucak and the expanse of the grounds and attendance 

A wrestling camel is paraded at the Pamucak arena during the annual Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival

A wrestling camel is paraded at the Pamucak arena during the annual Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival

Two camels fight right up against the arena's boundary, forcing revellers to get out of their seats and flee backwards

Two camels fight right up against the arena’s boundary, forcing revellers to get out of their seats and flee backwards

A boy leaves the arena with a camel after winning a fight at the festival where camels fight it out for the female, leaning on each other to push the other one down

A boy leaves the arena with a camel after winning a fight at the festival where camels fight it out for the female, leaning on each other to push the other one down

A general view of the grounds near Izmir in western Turkey as the camel owners prepare their beasts for a mighty duel 

A general view of the grounds near Izmir in western Turkey as the camel owners prepare their beasts for a mighty duel 

Camel wrestling is a sport in which two male Tülu camels (breed mixtures) wrestle in response to a female camel in heat being led before them

Camel wrestling is a sport in which two male Tülu camels (breed mixtures) wrestle in response to a female camel in heat being led before them

Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival took place today in the Aegean town of Selcuk, near Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey

Selcuk-Efes Camel Wrestling Festival took place today in the Aegean town of Selcuk, near Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey

The winning beast will have submitted its opponent in three ways. By making them scream, retreat or fall, like shown here

The winning beast will have submitted its opponent in three ways. By making them scream, retreat or fall, like shown here

A wrestling camel wearing a muzz waits for his fight at the Pamucak arena

A wrestling camel wearing a muzz waits for his fight at the Pamucak arena

There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions

There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions

A wrestling camel adorned with colourful ornaments is pictured in front of a Turkish flag at the fighting festival

A wrestling camel adorned with colourful ornaments is pictured in front of a Turkish flag at the fighting festival

Suleyman Cobanoglu, 60 years old, pets his camel for Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in the town of Selcuk

Suleyman Cobanoglu, 60 years old, pets his camel for Selcuk Camel wrestling festival in the town of Selcuk

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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