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Child Soldiers
Child Soldiers
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Bea Ahbeck

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Description: Zoorkhaneh is the Iranian traditional gymnasium in which the Iranian national sport, called "Pahlevani sport" is practiced. Pahlevani sport consists of 7 main exercises practiced using special tools which are made in the shape of ancient weapons such as sword, mace, shield & bow. The history of Pahlevani sport is not clear. A few researches show that its birth dates back to more than 700 years ago, when the land of Persia was invaded by Mongolians and Iranian patriot guys gathered together and shaped secret groups in order to fight against the occupiers. According to the "Yassa" (The Mongolian law) defeated nations were not allowed to practice any martial exercise; so Iranian men began to exercise secretly in abandoned underground places far from cities. For such a purpose, these guys created body building tools which were made in the shape of their weapons. The other athletic activity that these men used to practice was wrestling. Through the wrestling competitions, the strongest man would be selected. This man was called "Pahlevan". The underground gymnasium for such an exercise, was called Zoorkhaneh. Its not known why this name was selected for such a place. Some researchers guess when a new fighter wanted to join these men, he had to swear to be loyal by tasting a salty water called "Zoor". In Persian language, "Zoor" also means "power", & Zoorkhaneh means: "The power house". Besides fighting against the intruders, the other job for Pahlevans was to help the poor & the oppressed classes of the society. So gradually a school came into existence which was not only a gymnasium, but also a place to learn chivalry, manliness, forgiveness & other moral qualities. Zoorkhaneh still exists & there are still people who exercise with sport tools which are exactly made in the shape of ancient weapons such as bow, sword, mace & shield
Pictures of this collection are captured in 2004, showing one of the older gymnasiums of Tehran called "Pouriaye vali" which is established in 1934 by Mr. "Javad Shahmohammadi".
Keywords: Zoorkhaneh
Date: 01.04.2007 05:59
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Added by: Amir Mahmoodi

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