Polo is one ancient sport Iran always had as a sign of capability, strength and accuracy. Heroic etiquette was also involved.
A centuries-old polo (Chogan in Persian) field with gates made of stones, has just been found near a village in Lorestan province.
These stone made gates prove significant architectural and historical elements from the first polo field in Lorestan. Like any other aspect of historical legacies, these gates and the estimated field were decorated and given the high value of artistic attention.
Traditionally, this horse-riding game was played in royal courts and built-up fields, accompanied by music and storytelling. It was and still is one strong aspect of intangible legacy which won the UNESCO World Heritage status in December 2017.
What was excavated during archaeological efforts were the stone masonry body of the gates of the Chogan field. The interesting part is that these gates include four shutters of Persian poetry, dating back to 1116 AH [1704 -1705 CE], which coincides with the middle of the Safavid era.
What we learn from this poetry is that Yahya ibn Yusuf, the grandson of Khalil Khan Sarlak, one famous Bakhtiari figure during the reign of the Safavid, constructed a mansion in this area overlooking the polo field and testified to the glory of this field.
The polo field is located in the village of Khalil Abad on the slopes of Qali Kooh and Oshtrankooh. Soon it will be added to the tourist spots of the province in the future.
The word “polo” comes from the Tibetan word for the willow root from which polo balls were made, which is “Pulu”.
As the Safavid dynasty aimed to have a steady polo field in their famous square of Naqsh-e Jahan in Isfahan, we could assume they paid a lot of attention to this ancient sport of Iran as they claimed the throne of the Kayanian dynasty, where around 1000 B.C. held polo games as Iran’s national popular sport.