The nomads of Central Asia practiced a form of polo that was both sport and combat training, with up to 100 men on each side. In Persia, polo, practiced by the nobility and the military, became a national sport. The game was formalized and spread from the west to Constantinople, from the east to Tibet, China and Japan, and also from the south to India.

Polo is perhaps the oldest team sport, although its exact origin is an enigma. Nomad warriors probably first played this sport more than two thousand years ago, but the earliest known tournament dates back to 600 BC. The name is supposed to come from the Tibetan “pholo”, which means “ball” or · ball game “. Starting from its origins in Persia, the game has often been associated with the rich and noble of society; kings, princes and queens of Persia played this game. Polo has also been linked to the middle and upper classes in the past, mainly because of its origins in Great Britain. The fact that it was played by wealthy people is perhaps due to the fact that, being a game played on horseback, it requires at least two horses per game, an expensive hobby.


Zurkhaneh is a Persian gym where athletes undergo a series of bodybuilding techniques. The term Zurkhaneh refers to the training place, whose literal meaning is “powerhouse”. The ritual is carried out by a musician who sings poems and is accompanied by the rhythm of the drum and rings bells to determine the beginning of the different sections and actions. Practitioners of this sport undergo a long sequence of exercises directed by the musician, the guide of the room, called “Morshed” in Persian. Zurkhaneh practice encompasses all the factors of good health (muscular capacity, respiratory and cardiac resistance, flexibility, body composition) and of good physical capacity (speed, alertness, strength, speed of action, balance and coordination).

This practice can be considered a historical legacy of the Sassanid era that has survived, more or less, in some parts of Iran. In short, Zurkhaneh was a former physical education school for soldiers and military personnel, comparable to the gymnasiums of the Roman polis.

Iranian soldiers perfected their famous physical strength and approached combat techniques by practicing the complete Zurkhaneh martial system with training exercises aimed at developing the power and agility necessary to fight with sword, bow and arrow, mace and shield. The Zurjane focuses on strength, physique, ability and endurance and continues to live as a legacy of the past and deserves a lot of attention. To know more about the Persian gym, you need to know some technical and jargon terms:

Popular Iranians Games 

Games are often culturally charged and traditional Iranian games, on top of that, enjoy a great variety. Due to the broad climate, ethnicity and tribe in Iran, these games have been designed for specific purposes and have become common among the population. In Iran there are more than 150 types of traditional games that the new generation is no longer familiar with due to the passage of time, new technologies and lifestyle changes. These games are divided into two groups: indoor and outdoor games. These games, in turn, have allowed people to enjoy their leisure time anywhere and some of them are socially and culturally common in most cities in Iran.