Makanakhagh is one of the oldest games of the Armenian people, and it’s quite popular even today.
The first mentions of this game date back to the 4th century. One variant of the game is on foot, the other is equestrian. The basic rules for dismounted Makanakhagh (currently more popular) are similar to modern football and are as follows.
The game is played on a rectangular field 90-120 meters long and 60-75 meters wide. 4 meters wide and 2,2 meters high goals are installed on the front lines of the field. Players of each of the 2 competing teams (each consisting of 11 people) attempt to score a wooden ball (6 cm in diameter, weighing 150-160 grams) into the opponent’s goal with makans (120cm long wooden clubs).
The game time (60 minutes) is divided into two equal halves with a 10-minute break in between. The game starts at the center of the field. A toss decides the right of the initial strike and the selection of the field halves.
It is not allowed to raise the makan above the shoulder and the ball above a player’s belt.
Players should be sideways to the goal when struggling or preparing to struggle for the ball. In case of a violation of the rules, a free kick is awarded to the non-offending team.
If the ball goes out of bounds from a player of one team, then the other team gains the right to return it into the game from either the sideline, the point where the ball exits the line, or by a corner kick if the ball has gone out through the front line.
The team which scores the most goals wins.
Competitions in the equestrian variant of the game have been held in the republic for several years as well. The playing field is usually sized at 100 × 60 meters, and the size of the goal is 8 × 2 meters. The ball is a leather ball with a diameter of 15 cm stuffed with hair. The makans are 140 cm long.
Each team has 6 people. The goalkeeper playing under number 1 cannot move farther than 12 m from his goal. Players numbered 2 and 4 are allowed to play only on the left half of the field relative to their team’s goal, while players numbered 3 and 5 may only play on the right half. The team captain is allowed to play in the entire field.