Gabrovo is a town in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo region.
It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire. It is as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Gabrovo is also known as the longest town in Bulgaria, stretching over 25 km along the Yantra, yet reaching only 1 km in width at places. Near Gabrovo is located the geographic center of Bulgaria - Uzana.
Population is about 80,000 inhabitants.
Climate is characterized by relatively warm summers and winters in the region are mild (average January temperature 1.6 C), but with heavy snow falls.
In Gabrovo there are eleven primary and three secondary schools, School of Mathematics, Proffesional School of Tourism, School of Textile and Technical School of Industrial Engineering.
For the children there are two kindergartens with nurseries /for children 10 months to 6-years/ and eight kindergartens.
Central geographic location determines Gabrovo as a busy transport hub. It is connected by roads with convenient surrounding communities and major cities in Northern and Southern Bulgaria. Regular bus lines to Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Kazanlak, Troyan, Tryavna, Sevlievo, Apriltsi, Shipchenski prohod. /Shipka Pass/.
The territory of present Gabrovo was inhabited 10 000 - 8000 years ago during the Stone Age. There a rich culture had been already formed, when Thracian tribes built their settlements 1600 years ago. Some Roman and Byzantium fortresses are partially preserved even today.
With few interceptions until mid XV Century, the number of local population of these lands grew bigger or less, then became baptized into Christianity and then consequently part of the land of the Thracian, of the Roman and Byzantium Empire, the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdom. In XV C this territory was a traditional settlement of troops and countrymen to protect the passes to the North towards Nikopolis ad Istrum and latter on - towards Shipka.
An old legend says that one of the founders of the city was Racho the Blacksmith, who built his settlement near Yantra River to shoe the horses of the caravans that traveled to and from the mountain. Gradually new settlers came to live near his house and since there was a huge hornbeam tree nearby (in Bulgarian - gabar), people named the place Gabrovo.
The strategic location of Gabrovo - near the capital Tarnovo and Shipka pass and the boom of crafts, trade and public education shaped its urban appearance. Migration of Cumans, Vlachs and Bulgarians, pressed by Turkish expansion, gradually formed local population of a keen mind. Agriculture, gardening, stock - breeding, leather and textile working, carpentry and blacksmith’s made their way into everyday life of Ancient Gabrovians...
During the period of the Revival Gabrovo was separated into 5 neighborhoods with local councils, 3 churches and parishes, 4 school boards of trusties and typical urban center with 3 bridges, a clock tower, a town hall, pubs and a public market. In XVII C associations of craftsmen, small church schools and foundation of Bulgarian administration were established.
In 1861 Gabrovo was proclaimed a town and thus gained its right to assign a sitting judge, a doctor and a chief of police. A few calamities left a scar on Gabrovo for the period XVII - XVIII Cy - the plague, the great floods, the plunders and the fire of 1789.
Prominent people of Gabrovo like Captain Nikola, Master Nikola and Tsanko Dustabanov distinguished themselves in the liberation movements of Bulgaria and Russian - Turkish Liberation war.
After Liberation Gabrovo was one of the centers that shaped the Bulgarian State organization. Prominent Gabrovians were among the national representatives in Constituent Assembly to develop and pass the Turnovo Constitution.
In the beginning of XX C Gabrovo became one of the most prosperous industrial centers of Bulgaria. Leading factories for manufacture of wool braid, fabrics, bullets, soap, leather, metalwork and etc. were located here.
In the course of time Gabrovo was given more than one name - it was called the Capital of factories, the Bulgarian Manchester and the Loan office of Bulgaria in appraisal of great contribution of Gabrovo industry to the state treasury.
The architectural-еthnographic complex "Etur" is the first open air museum of this kind opened in Bulgaria. It was established on September 7th, 1964. The museum is situated 8 km South of the town of Gabrovo.
Some 25 km south-east from Gabrovo, amid unique nature and land shapes lies the vastest meadow of Central Stara Planina. There is the sign for the geographic center of Bulgaria. Uzana encompasses an area of high steep mountain ranges at an average altitude of 1120 m above the sea level, which favors the development of winter sports. Existing infrastructure, ski and hotel facilities make Uzana a desired tourist destination.
Summer season also provides good opportunities for different types of tourism. Numerous ecoroutes in the region and the rich biodiversity of rare and protected species attract nature lovers from all over the country.
The Lilacs Complex is a beautiful mountain location, situated at 16 km from Gabrovo at an attitude of 840 m above the sea level. The chemical components of the air and the high content of ozone are favorable for treatment of lung and respiratory tract diseases, allergies, high blood pressure, metabolism and neurological disorders. Here a tree - star hotel amid lilac trees with 121 beds, 8 flats, 44 double and 17 single rooms, a spacious restaurant and a beautiful summer garden, a conference hall with 150 seats, modern balneology and rehabilitation facilities welcomes its guests.
Only 3 km away from downtown Gabrovo lays the Gradishte locality. Here, amid fresh pine woods a spacious meadow with a children play area and many picnic sites host Gabrovians in need of recreation. It is very close to the Omnitheatre and the small Zoo, situated by the road up the hill. Further beyond are the ruins of the Gradishte fortress, which was built somewhere between IV - V C to protect the pass to Shipka. On the highest point of the site a great basilica used to rise long ago. Today it is a beautiful viewpoint of Gabrovo from above.
BALGARKA NATURE PARK
Bulgarka Nature Park takes the northern slopes of Central Stara Planina Range. It is established in 2002 to preserve and maintain the beech ecosystems, the plant and animal life and cultural heritage of the region. The park lies on the territory of two municipalities - Gabrovo and Tryavna on a total area of 21 772 ha, with average altitude of 940 m above the sea level. More then a few protected areas are within its boundaries, including the Open Air Museum Etar and the Sokolski Monastery. About 80 % of the total area is taken by woods. The park is a natural habitat of more than 1300 plants, 32 of which are considered as protected species and included in the Red book of Bulgaria.
More than 70 % of the medicative herbs in the country can be found here. There is a great variety of animals - eagle, small eagle, rock partridge, small hawk, black woodpecker, woodcock, hollow-pigeon, marten, bear, otter, wolf, royal stag, deer etc. Beautiful nature and different landforms favor the development of many types of tourism.