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Iranian Documentary to Present Ancient Iranian Warrior Sports in UNESCO


22 July 2006





LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iranian director Hamed Fereshteh-Hekmat has begun shooting a documentary on traditional Iranian martial art, known as Varzesh-e Pahlevāni (warrior' sport), which shows it was originated at the Zurkhaneh (Zūrxāneh - the house of power) to submit the movie to the UNESCO, the Persian service of IRNA reported here on Thursday.


Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization sponsors the project with the aim of registering the national and traditional Iranian sport universally.


The project has started in Qazvin and will also be shot in Iranian provinces of Gilan, Ardebil , East and West Azarbaijan , said the director.


The three-hour movie highlights cultural and athletic aspects of the Zurkhaneh sports and focuses on epic and championship, culture and traditions, apparel, and geographical location of the Zurkhaneh, he added.   


Varzesh-e Pahlavani, widely known as Varzesh-e Bastani by mistake for the past seventy years, was originally an academy of physical training and a nursery for warriors against foreign invaders similar in purpose to Korean, Japanese and Chinese martial arts.

However, throughout the last two thousand years it acquired, and was enriched with, different components of moral, ethical, philosophical, and mystical values of the Iranian civilization. As a result, Varzesh-e Pahlavani emerged as a unique institution having incorporated the spiritual richness of Sufism, traditional rituals of Mithraism, and heroism of Iranian nationalism.


The heroes of this academy are called Pahlavāns Many of these Pahlavans were greatly responsible for revolting against Greeks, Arabs and Mongol invaders throughout the history of Iran. 


The history of Varzesh-e Pahlavani can be traced back to the Parthian Dynastic Empire of Iran (248 BCE - 224 CE). Even the word Pahlavan comes from Parthia. According to Pirnia, there is a good chance that even Ferdowsi (935?-1026? CE), the greatest Iranian mythical poet and historian, was referring to the Parthian Period in his "Book of Kings" (in Persian Shahnameh) when he wrote about the mythical period of the Iranian history. 


Mithraism reached its peak in this period and eventually spread from Iran to the Roman Empire. There are striking similarities between rituals of Mithraism and Varzesh-e Pahlavani. Even Mithraic temples are similar in structure to Zoorkhaneh's, the place where the rituals of Varzesh-e Pahlavani are practiced.





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Source: Mehr News

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     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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