In Bulgaria, it was known as karnushka and was first described by an English traveler who saw it during a fair under the hills


In one of our favorite articles about Plovdiv with 7 things that happened for the first time under the hills, we found a very interesting fact. It turns out that this popular attraction, which Viennese people are proud of, was actually seen for the first time in Plovdiv. This is noted in the British, French, and German encyclopedias, and we learn about it from BozhidarTotev, who is the author of the Encyclopedia of Plovdiv.

We get the first information about the invention innovative of its time from the English traveler Peter Mundy, who described what he saw on May 17, 1620, in Plovdiv (then Filibe) during a fair. Peter Mundy made a drawing that shows a carousel, which was not known in Europe until then. In many countries, this wheel is known as Ferris wheel, as well as "Bulgarian pleasure wheel" or "Bulgarian ride". According to his stories, the swings were of three types, and the one for children had devices to prevent them from falling.

It was not until 1728 that this facility, known in Bulgaria as karnushka, appeared in England, and then in more advanced versions in other countries around the world. During his visit to the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, AlekoKonstantinov saw a similar wheel, which he compared to our karnushka in his travelogue To Chicago and Back. The American version was invented by George Washington Gail Ferris Jr. as their response to the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Paris World's Fair.

Its diameter was 75 meters and its mass - 2000 tons. It was powered by 2 steam engines with a power of 1000 horsepower each. 36 cabins were attached to the wheel. In each of them, there were 20 seats and 40 places for standing, thus the total capacity was equal to 2160 people. Each turn of the wheel took 20 minutes. Although it was about 4 times shorter than the Eiffel Tower, the wheel was higher than any skyscraper of that time.

After the exhibition, it was moved to different places several times, until it was finally dismantled in 1904. In 1897, shortly after Ferris' death, a similar wheel was built in Vienna on his project, which has been preserved to this day and is among the biggest attractions of the city. It is from this wheel where the Bulgarian name comes - Viennese wheel, which, as it turns out, has Bulgarian roots.