The North Cyprus Archery Federation members aim for a bullseye during a competition.
It’s a sport that appeals to all age groups; the youngest participant was 11-year-old Camay Selkan. The archers can use modern carbon bows, which Robin Hood would not recognize, or the more traditional wooden weapon, to score points by shooting at dummy animals. (No wildlife was harmed in the creation of this post!).
The bow (and associated paraphernalia) has long held cultural significance among the Turkish people. The early Khans adopted the bow as a symbol of authority and would send messages to other rulers wrapped around an arrow bearing the Identification mark of the Khan.
As firearms took over as weapons of war, the bow and arrow survived as sporting challenges, with competitors awarded for both length of shot and accuracy. This century has seen a revival of interest, boosted in part by the success of TV costume dramas featuring events from the history of the Ottoman Empire.
This new popularity has led to the formation of archery clubs throughout North Cyprus, where you can shoot just for fun, or aim for competition standard. One such club is at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) where trainer Iraz Yücesoylu is also the head of the national team.
Some of the bigger hotels, such as the Kaya Artemis Resort in Bafra, also offer lessons for locals and holidaymakers.