The Iranian zurkhaneh, or "house of strength," is more than an octagonal pit where men exercise, box and wrestle, practicing varzesh-e bastani or "ancient sport".
It is a communal ritual space where men have come to refine their physical and moral character since pre-Islamic times. Though the zurkhaneh hosted competitions with professional wrestlers, it also served to educate amateur athletes in tenets of Sufi-oriented purity.
Now, the houses of power are undergoing a resurgence.
Imran Khan reports from Tehran.