The Zurkhaneh is a place of heroes, where ancient rituals to enlighten the spirit and athletics to enhance the body work in unison, turning an ordinary man into a warrior. Little is known of the exact origins of Pahlavani and Zurkhaneh rituals, but it was sometime during the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, that this unique marriage of athletics and spiritualism wove into the fabric of Persian culture.
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“Types of Georgians” from the book ‘From Batum to Baghdad’ by Walter Burton Harris (1896)
Iranian soldiers, during the Iran-Iraq War (1980 to ’88), practicising one of the Seven Arts of Zurkhaneh.
It is said that if you are English, you must know at least one Shakespeare play, Scottish, you must know at least one poem by Robert Burns, and Persian, you must know at least one story from the Shahnameh. This epic of Persian poetry, of kings and princes, of warriors who fought great battles, etc. is the most celebrated work by a Persian poet in all of the nation’s history.
Rustam Khan, Viceroy of Kartli, Eastern Georgia, from 1633-1658.