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IMNA English Desk- For Iranians, the historic central city of Isfahan is the cradle of modern-day polo.

Watch the related photo series 1 HERE

Watch the related photo series 2 HERE.

To back the claim, they point to drawings dating from the time of Darius I (522-486 BC) in which a horseman is depicted holding a long mallet in one hand.

Today polo is still played in Iran.

For Iranians, the historic central city of Isfahan is the cradle of modern-day polo.

During the 16th century, the Safavid Shah Abbas, famed for the architectural marvels built in Isfahan, ordered the construction of a huge polo field in Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the city center so he could watch players from a terrace in his palace.

Over the centuries polo in Iran was a game reserved for the military elite, royal court officials and the aristocracy.

After the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the shah, the game was banned.

But it was rehabilitated in the 1990s, and a national polo federation soon saw the light of day.

The rebirth of polo in Iran was largely due to a countrywide growth in a sense of “Iranian identity.”

“In Iran, it is better not to say that polo is the sport of the nobility. The authorities encourage the game because it was born in Iran,” said one polo enthusiast, who asked not to be identified.

Watch the related photo series 1 HERE

Watch the related photo series 2 HERE.

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