An old Persian Sport/Game

You certainly have heard of sports such as Hockey, Golf and Polo, which are respectively most popular in USA, Europe and South America. Well, let us tell you that all of these modern famous sports surprisingly origin from 600 B.C. Persia, “Chogan”! 
Iran men's Chogan Team
Iran Women's Chogan Team


Chogan was originally a training practice for soldiers and cavalry to improve their battle skills and stay qualified.  Here’s how they used to do it: horsemen riding horses, trying to hit a ball using a stick and move it towards a direction. Soon it formed as an aristocratic game for kings and their courtiers, yet still featuring its martial aspects.


Chogan has taken an inspiring millenial journey from the Medes simply to the Achaemenid and then to India during Persian campaigns. It strongly remained the number one royal leisure activity during the history of Persia until the Sassanid era. At that point it was passed to the Roman neighbors during their protracted battles with Byzantine Empire. After that the Arabs came familiar to this game due to Muslim conquer of Persia. As a consequence of the Mongol invasions, then it was introduced to the other side of the globe, China. 
This game was most flourished during the Safavid era with the Naghsh-e-Jahan square in Isfahan being the most significant and acknowledged Chogan field. Next it was the Europians turn to notice and subsequently convey it to South America. After that this game started a vanishing path for a couple of centuries until the Europians brought back the ancient treasure to Iran in Pahlavid era.
In modern world this game is played as a professional sport mainly called polo and has changed in rule, form and manner.  
Playing Chogan (Polo) in Naghsh-e-Jahan Square

Current Condition

At the present time Chogan is alive in Iran, has a federation, championships, teamsand stadiums and fortunately on an encouraging path. It was inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017.   

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