The centuries-old development of the Bulgarian people is clearly evident in its mastery. Few people know more about the traditional Bulgarian craft – bell-making , in which wrought or cast metal bells, bell-ringers, vats and church bells are made.
Bell-ringing is not an officially regulated subject in a school or a craft that is taught among master craftsmen. This means that no exam is taken and no master certificates are issued.
Bells were first made in the twentieth century and were called “Thracians”, but due to their “bad voice” their demand was not great. Other species are the “horned” and the most produced “round” bells.
It is believed that the craft originated thanks to cattle breeding, developed mainly in the mountainous regions of Bulgaria. The bells are attached to one or two leaders of the herd, which helps the animals not to get lost. They are also used for signaling – when they chatter, the animals gather, and when there is silence, they scatter. In addition, the different tones of the bells allow farmers to recognize their flocks.
Chans are also used in the clothes of mummers, because Bulgarians believe that their ringing drives away evil spirits and causes fertility and prosperity in the new year.
The workshop of the masters of bells is usually a large room. This is necessary because of all the tools that are stored there – iron sheet, chimney with bellows, table for cutting sheet metal, scissors, iron molds – “cups” for cold hammering, molds for hot hammering, anvils and yorks, hammers and more.
To reach its final appearance, the bell goes through numerous, precise operations. Perhaps the most difficult part of the work is welding, because the voice of the bell is determined by how it is done, by the mouth of the bell and by the thickness of the sheet metal. Welding is done with a combination of bronze, borax, salt and yellow soil from which a slurry is made, the bell is smeared and heated until the mixture melts. The final touch is the placement of the language and, of course, the testing of the “voice”, which to this day immerses the souls of generations of Bulgarians in nostalgia for the Bulgarian centuries-old traditions.