Iran Travelogue # 15 – The Ancient Art of Zurhane


Art of Zurhane - Zurhane Exercise in Yazd, Iran

Zurhane Exercise in Yazd, Iran

The Art of Zurhane

On the top floor above a nearby a 900-year-old reservoir in Yazd, we attended a performance of the art of Zurhane, a type of martial arts and exercise or training system established at least a thousand years ago.

Zurhane comes from a pre-Islamic period in Iran. It is believed that after the fall of the Persian Empire by the armies of Islam, small groups of Persian athletes and warriors begin to gather in private homes and underground halls in order to continue their study of this ancient martial art.

Eventually this underground sport began to be held in indoor areas open to public.

It involves a group of men lifting huge, heavy wooden pins or clubs, like those used in bowling (only many times larger), and raising them alternately in a synchronized routine, to the beat of a drum.

Twice each evening the participants in this sport don their “uniform,” descend into deep well of a stage surrounded by admiring, curious onlookers (seated on chairs or rugs), for a rhythmical, muscular demonstration of Zurhane, accompanied by an amplified drummer and singer.

You can find their performance on You Tube video below