Proder Activities: Tradition of Turkish Archery

Proder Activities: Tradition of Turkish Archery

Within the project Participation and Integration of Refugee Youth in Social Life, our second activities was with emphasis on combination of sport and Turkish tradition: the Turkish Archery.

Turkish archery is a tradition of archery which became highly developed in the Ottoman Empire, although its origins date back to the Eurasian Steppe in the second millennium BC.

Traditional archery developed as a martial art, but has become a sporting branch that is based on moral principles and training since its earliest times. Today, it is a regular sporting activity that has special practice areas that include archery fields and archer’s lodges, which date back to the 15th century.

The equipment used in traditional archery is made by artisans with the requisite knowledge of materials and skills. Related equipment is decorated by using traditional Turkish ornamental arts, including calligraphy, ornamentation and marquetry.

Making the equipment requires such raw materials as trees grown under certain climatic conditions at high altitudes, organic glues, animal horn, tendons, silk, leather, reed and feathers.

Traditional Turkish archers are known as “Okçu” (archers), “Kemankeş”, “Tîrendâz” or “Kavsi”. Those who teach archery are referred to as “masters” and students of archery are called “Tâlip” or “Kepazakeş”. Artisans who make Turkish Composite Bows are called “Kemanger” and those who make standard arrow are known as “Tîrger”.

Traditional Turkish archery has been inscribed on the Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO in 2019.

Today, there are a many NGOs and communities who are trying to safeguard this tradition. One of them is Eskişehir Yunus Emre Gençlik Merkezleri who offers the courses of traditional Turkish archery for free and that is the place where this activity was helded.

Yunus Emre is renowned Turkish poet who was born in Eskisehir. The Legend says he wrote 3000 poems, 1000 of them were burned and turned into ashes that Angels read, 1000 of them were trown into the water where fish read them and 1000 of them stayed for the people today.

Eskişehir Yunus Emre Gençlik Merkezleri is trying to keep and share the knowledge they have about traditional cultural heritage, but also they organise courses for youth from 14-29 years (photography, robotics, theatre,guitar lessons, chess, language lessons-Russian, English, Arabic, Turkish for Foreigners…)

With their help Proder implemented this activity in order to share historical and cultural values of Turkey that are less know today, especially among the youths.

With the same participants like in our first activitiy we were nicely welcomed in Youth Centre. After the host told us the stories about their Institution and their goal the return to history began.

All participant were given a chance to try out the art of Archery with the master who showed each participant individually how to handle the equipment. All that in the historical ambience of Odunpazare District.

After the instructions the Tournament was organized, but It was on Volunteery base. Every contestant got a chance to shoot three times, the one with the highest score off course won. The aim of the game was to hit the certain areas in the board, the one with the highest level which is 12 points, the circles on the board (6 points) and the rest of the board (3 points).

At the end every contestant was given a T-shirt of Yunus Emre Youth Center.