11 Traditional Russian Transport

Traditional Russian Transport

Posted on November 18, 2009 by


Traditional _Russian_Transport

If they ask you which of the inventions of mankind is the most ancient, what will be your first thought? You’ll definitely think about a wheel. But sledge appeared much earlier! And indeed – just tie two front ends of poles to your dog or horse and let the rear ones drag – and you get a primitive sledge. There were so many of them created in different times – sledge without skids (Russian volokushy and Canadian toboggan) and with skids (Siberian and European), sledge with a closed body and even with a sail.

Sledge in Russia was always popular. It’s used to say that Russia has two troubles – fools and roads. The second one was a reason why sledge was often used as a main mean of transport even in summer (in some areas till the beginning of the 20th century!). Sledge was considered more honourable or, let’s say, prestigious way to appear on public rather than any kind of wheeled transport. And for this reason it was chosen by many of Russian monarchs as a main festive transport (and again even in summer).
In general the traditional Russian surface transport means were wheel, skid and drag transport. The wheel transport was widespread mostly in traditionally agricultural areas due to availability of dirt-roads. These simple wagons were named differently depending on the region – snopovozka (crop sheaves carrier), khlebovozka (grain carrier), drogi (dray cart), dolgusha (long-body wagon), rydvan (large coach harnessed with two or three horses), etc. All of these were of a more or less similar construction but with some differences in structure of a body. For example it could be made of wood board as a solid thing or wattled of rod.

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A typical peasant cart was equipped with wheels of different size – the front wheels were usually smaller than the rear ones. This was caused by a lower load on the front part of such cart. Besides that, this design feature made it easier for carts to turn in a limited road space – a small wheel can turn for a wider angle under the cart body.
Apart from regular carts for various cargos transporting, a number of more comfortable and more complicated in design wagons was used for festive occasions. These usually had a solid body – covered, open or with a folding top (cabriolet), a kind of a shock absorber system and at least two seats for passengers.
Two-wheeled carts were a separate type of traditional Russian wheel transport. They were used for short-distance rides, even as a kind of taxi in big cities, but never for cargo transporting.

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11 Responses to “Traditional Russian Transport”

  1. A Russian spy says:

    First.

  2. Vladimir Putin says:

    God save Russians!

  3. Lenin-McCarthy says:

    Russian Amish?

  4. What a wonderful way to travel and enjoy the journey!

  5. openeyed says:

    Those paintings were all very nice – great post!!

  6. Taupey says:

    These paintings are very nice indeed! This is a wonderful post ER Admin and author!

  7. cia says:

    Beautiful paintings!

    Especially dramatic one of sledge driver aiming rifle at wolf.

    ER should do a post on the wolves of Russia. Topics like:
    Wolf attack.
    Wolf hunting.
    Wolves during war time.
    Wolves during Tsars era and earlier.
    Wolves entering villages.
    etc.

    Also, Siberian tiger, leopard, and bear.

  8. Greg says:

    I live in Canada and I have always just called them sleds. Just my 2 cents.

  9. sue2u says:

    Great post.
    I would also love to see a post on wolves, furtrapping, or hunting in Russia.
    Thanks,
    sue2u

  10. Kelly says:

    I am a painter and have visited Moldova and Ukraine, but not Russia. Which city has the best collections of Realist Art in their museums(like Serebriakova or Fechin), Moscow or St. Petersburg? I would like to plan to see as much Russian art as I could.

    Does anyone have an opinion?

    • Taupey says:

      Go to Forum and post your question there. I believe there is a Russian city section there’s lots of wonderful information throughout the whole Forum. The link should be at the top of the webpage!

      Best of Luck, Taupey :)

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