Kirkpinar is the name of a Turkish yagli güres wrestling tournament. It is held annually, usually in late June, near Edirne, Turkey (formerly known as Adrianople).
According to legend, as the Ottoman Turkish army was moving toward Edirne in 1361, their soldiers would take to wrestling against one another for recreation during lulls in the battles; one night, forty such soldiers began wrestling, but a bout between two of them lasted all night as neither was able to defeat the other. They were found dead the next morning, their bodies still intertwined. They were buried underneath a nearby fig tree, whereupon their comrades headed to Edirne, which they then conquered.
After the conquest, the soldiers came upon another fig tree, surrounded by a crystal-clear spring, so they renamed the surrounding meadow (which until then had been known as Ahirköy) Kirkpinar, which translates from Turkish as "forty springs" or "forty sources."
To commemorate the heroism of the conquering warriors, a wrestling tournament was re-enacted annually at the site, and the oldest still-contested sanctioned sporting competition in the world began.
Before each bout, the wrestlers pour olive oil over their entire bodies, and the matches take place in an open, grassy field, with the contestants naked except for trousers made of leather, which extend to just above the knee. Victory is achieved when one wrestler either pins the other to the ground (as in many other forms of wrestling) or lifts his opponent above his shoulders.
The event attracted little attention outside of Turkey until the 1990s, when the style of wrestling began to spread to Western Europe; it has become particularly popular in the Netherlands, which now hosts its own annual version of the tournament, attracting participants from throughout Europe. Yagli güres wrestling matches are also held in Japan.
It is now a Guinness World Record for the longest running wrestling competition