Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Topological puzzles

I came accross to some new types of puzzles that I did not know before: topological puzzles, here made by Dimiter Vakarelov.
He teaches maths in Sofia (Bulgary) and has been making topological puzzles for years (he also writes books about them)

Those puzzles are hand-made, in metal or wood and with colorful ropes. I like a lot the design with the different shapes, for example the "heart" puzzle, or the "cherries on a stick" puzzle. 
From left to right: "ring on a stick", "cherries on a stick", "spiral-3", "heart", "bracelet"

They are really nice, and they fit well in a collection of puzzles. And Dimiter has made many more topological puzzles. The names of the puzzle fit well to their design.

The goal is to free either the rope (with the balls) or some metal or wooden parts of the puzzle, by moving the rope in a certain way, making it go under some parts of the puzzles...
Most of the time it seems impossible, really !! But there is a solution (of course)!

I managed to solve "ring on a stick" (on the right)...humm how to put it again?...

I managed only to solve one puzzle called "ring on a stick", and I did it by chance...So now I have difficulties to reassemble it...I could cheat by removing the knot under the wooden crital, but I prefer using the "regular" solution.

Note that sometimes there are variation about the "design" of the puzzle, like below with "ring on a stick" puzzle.
At the beginning I feared my puzzle had a problem, but don't worry, there are not any problems! The way you solve it is still the same ;-)
The shape of the stick is not the same, but it has no impact on the solution!

As you may have understood, the difficulty is hard, even really hard. The design of the puzzles is very nice and unusual. And to finish, Dimiter is a really nice guy to chat with.

Support the work of a talented craftman and enjoy his hand-made topological puzzles ;-)

Below are some other examples of his work (there are many!):

Drop me an email if you want to contact Dimiter.


  1. Nick, your wonderlands are wonerful!!
    Many thanks for presenting my puzzles.