For 90 years workmen at the Taller de Carretas Eloy Alfaro in Sarchí have been making ox carts.
So the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural will honor the facility today as a living historical document.
The ox cart, of course, is the icon of Costa Rica. And the carretas still are made the traditional way today in Sarchí. Among other processes, workmen heat the metal rim so that it expands and can fit over the wooden wheel. When the rim cools, it contracts and holds the wheel secure.
In fact, ox carts have a distinctive sound as the wheels go down the road.
The workshop is being honored as an example of industrial development with the hope that the traditional methods and machinery will be preserved for the future, said the Centro, which is an agency of the Minsterio de Cultura y Juventud.
Sarchí is the traditional home of ox cart production, but the cart itself existed as long as there were Europeans in the land. It was in Escazú where an Italian immigrant began creating the intricate designs in the early 20th century that today are standard with the carts.