Istanbul on Thursday hosted the opening event of the Fifth Ethnosport Culture Festival, showcasing traditional sports from a wide variety of cultures in over two dozen nations, set to last until June 12 after a two-year break due to coronavirus.
Türkiye's Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu, along with World Ethnosport Confederation President Bilal Erdogan, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, and hundreds of local onlookers attended the opening ceremony of the festival held on the European side of the metropolis.
"It is a very special excitement and pride for us to organize our organization, which has become the most comprehensive festival in traditional sports branches with the greatest attendance in the world, this year with great enthusiasm," Kasapoglu said in an opening speech.
He underlined the importance of traditional sports as a means to preserve traditions and values, and transfer cultural heritage to future generations.
Erdogan, the head of the World Ethnosport Confederation, expressed his pleasure to hold the fifth edition to the festival after having to skip the event in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Here, we reach out to our own roots, the colorful cultures of the world, and establish a special affinity with our traditions.
"In these days, we must cling to the values that bind us together and make us who we are," Erdogan added.
- Ethnosport Culture Festival
The festival has opened its doors to visitors, featuring Turkish cities and the oba lifestyle, associated with traditional nomadic culture, coming to life in clay tents, while artisans host workshops on handicrafts amid the many activities with shows.
The four-day event will include mounted archery, wrestling, horse riding, oil wrestling, and other traditional Turkish and Central Asian sports.
More than 1,000 participants from 26 countries will be featured with a dazzling array of traditional cuisines from across the globe for visitors to savor.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about traditional sports and games, as well as communication with nature and animals, during the festival.
The festival will also offer accessible events for disadvantaged groups with hippotherapy, a barbecue tournament for the visually impaired, workshops and events staged by disabled artists.
The Ethnosport Culture Festival is sponsored by Turkish Airlines, Turk Telekom, Vakif Participation Bank, and Spor Toto.