Bulgarian Cart Wheels

The invention of the wheel has had a major impact in Bulgaria without the wheel Bulgaria would come to a standstill. Can you imagine Bulgaria without their carts?

Everywhere you look there is a wheel turning but not necessarily a round wheel. The come in all shapes and sizes circular in the main but can come in many varieties of oval and the occasional rectangle but these are generally gypsy owned and stationary.

Car and engine driven traffic aside, the wheel is the most practical means of transporting goods and personnel around, it always has been here. Carts, trolleys, bicycles all are used extensively and in the most practical way in Bulgaria.

You can find wheels on horse drawn carts here of all ages, some going back 100 years. The Bulgarian carts are the most useful means of transport and in most villages this is the only means of transport that still has its use. Many will still be working 20 or 30 years down the line, it's all down to cost, hardly anything other than donkey or horse feed and that's generally free if you cut your own.

I have a cart myself a fine specimen and also three old spare wooden wheels in my barn, one I gave a way to a neighbour who had a three wheeled cart with wheels roughly the same age. These are the wheels you see are put into posh gardens as a bit of garden furniture, very nice. There are no rubber tyres as the wheels that made with wood have a metal tread. There is less friction on these wheels and therefore less effort to pull by the donkey and horses. Yes, the ride is a bit rougher but less energy is used and that is always preferable to Bulgarians.

Many now use old car wheels on their carts, with pneumatic tyres, these are hard work to pull. Some carts have smaller a smaller diameter metal plate wheel with solid rubber tyres like those on young children’s bicycles these are perfect for riding through mud and a good alternative to the wooden wheel.

It is a shame that the old wheels are now fading fast and the makers of these wheels now almost extinct. I just hope the one-day they come back into fashion but they won't. The reason being that there are too many cars on the road now and car wheel will become even more plentiful. The age of the wooden handmade wheel will continue in a downward trend, pity, as they are so practical and efficient as well.