Chovgan is a thrilling equestrian sport which is considered a forerunner to polo and has been played in Azerbaijan for millennia. It was added to UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. Read more about it!
Chovgan is an equestrian sport that has been played in Azerbaijan for millennia and is considered a forerunner of polo. The game involves two teams of five players in national dress riding Karabakh horses – a symbolic national breed famed for its strength, stamina and beauty – who compete to knock a small leather ball through the opposition's three-metre-wide goalposts using long wooden mallets. It's played on a large grass or sand-based pitch over two halves of 15 minutes, with games often being intense, packed with action and accompanied by national music. The best place to watch it being played is the President's Cup, an annual chovgan tournament held in Sheki and Baku featuring teams from around the country. Spectating is a truly thrilling experience – you'll be amazed by the hand-eye coordination and horsemanship!
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