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The Zurkhaneh (House of strength) is a traditional part of Persian culture. It is both a form of exercise and a game.?Zurkhaneh pits are dug 1m deep into the ground, and traditionally have a clay floor, although most modern halls are tiled.?The practice is a show of strength and rhythm, and revolves around traditional cultural and moral values.?Men of all ages exercise together, and compete to keep pace with the Morshed (guide) who sits on an elevated platform beating a drum.?The walls surrounding the Zurkhaneh pit are decorated with photographs of previous champions, and images of religious and cultural significance. Participants train for Pahlevan - sustaining their bodies movements to the drum beat and whirling around a circle on the ground.?There is a great deal of protocol surrounding even the practice, which includes wearing specific clothing, holding the clubs and chains in particular styles, and elements of selflessness, and above all faith and absolute loyalty to the prophet and imams.
The history of the Zurkhaneh runs back to ancient Persian culture. During the Arab conquest, practicing was seen as representing a form of cultural resistance.?From the early twentieth century there has been a great revival in the art form, and in present day Iran it is viewed by many as a form of nationalism.
The atmosphere in the room is a mixture between tension and electricity, similar to that of a Sufi dervish whirling ceremony.
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Bradley Secker
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The Zurkhaneh (House of strength) is a traditional part of Persian culture. It is both a form of exercise and a game.?Zurkhaneh pits are dug 1m deep into the ground, and traditionally have a clay floor, although most modern halls are tiled.?The practice is a show of strength and rhythm, and revolves around traditional cultural and moral values.?Men of all ages exercise together, and compete to keep pace with the Morshed (guide) who sits on an elevated platform beating a drum.?The walls surrounding the Zurkhaneh pit are decorated with photographs of previous champions, and images of religious and cultural significance. Participants train for Pahlevan - sustaining their bodies movements to the drum beat and whirling around a circle on the ground.?There is a great deal of protocol surrounding even the practice, which includes wearing specific clothing, holding the clubs and chains in particular styles, and elements of selflessness, and above all faith and absolute loyalty to the prophet and imams.<br />
The history of the Zurkhaneh runs back to ancient Persian culture. During the Arab conquest, practicing was seen as representing a form of cultural resistance.?From the early twentieth century there has been a great revival in the art form, and in present day Iran it is viewed by many as a form of nationalism.<br />
The atmosphere in the room is a mixture between tension and electricity, similar to that of a Sufi dervish whirling ceremony.