When Tarnovgrad became the capital of the Second Bulgarian State in the 12th century and the subsequent importance of the road through the Shipka Pass, free and skilful military people took the responsibility to guard the road and established a small village. They had the privilege to pay fewer taxes and to preserve the ownership on their lands and their production. The local population set up its life as an inseparable part of the Bulgarian State, built a church, a monastery and related its existence to the passing of the relics of St. Petka, the cult of whom has remained to this day. The conquest of the State by the Ottoman Turks did not change significantly their living and had little influence on their belonging to the Orthodox religion, their lifestyle and traditions. They continued guarding the pass, which made them part of the militarized detachments of the dervens, as the guardians of the road were then called. Their task was to keep the passing caravans and state officers safe, for which they bore collective responsibility. For a short time, they were assigned to the lands of a senior military, but later became part of the people of the Grand Vizier. They received a sultan’s decision granting them the privilege to carry weapons, to pay half of the taxes, and not to feed large military units; every new sultan confirmed the decision. Their number grew through the years from 96 families in 1478 to 500 in 1545 and at the end of the 17th century, they reached 3000 inhabitants.
In the years of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-1878, which brought freedom to Bulgarians, Gabrovo was one of the ten Bulgarian cities that had the greatest contribution to the victorious end, especially during the epic Shipka Fights in August 1877. The local people took part in the voluntary army units, organized armed bands of guardians, worked on the construction of roads and military facilities, they were reconnoitres and led military columns on their way to the Russian armies south of the Balkan Mountains.
In the newly established state, the intellectuals from Gabrovo became the core of the state administration. Among them were members of the Parliament, the first prime minister, the minister of education and the minister of interior. Their power was in the establishment of the Bulgarian industry. The heritage left from the years before 1944 became the basis of an industrial city, known for its weaving, clothing, leather industries, and the institutes for technical development. With the changes in 1989, the industrial giants were replaced by smaller robotic companies, exporting products to the whole world.
Gabrovo is a city in Central Bulgaria. It is an administrative and economic centre of Gabrovo Municipality and Gabrovo Region. The Municipality is situated in the central part of the Republic of Bulgaria, along the Yantra River. One of the most important road links, passing through Bulgaria in the north-south direction, part of the Trans-European Transport Corridor No. 9 to Greece and Turkey, passes through its territory. The Municipality consists of 134 settlements, including Gabrovo City.
Address: Gabrovo 5300, sq.Vuzrajdane №3
For five consecutive years, the municipalities in the region have absorbed the most European funds per capita. Gabrovo is among the regions with the highest economic activity of the working population - 73.0% compared to 69.3% for the country. Gabrovo takes the fifth place for the highest GDP per capita, the income of the population exceeds the average for the country, and the salaries are rising steadily. In 2015, after an increase for a fifth consecutive year, the share of the well-maintained road pavement in the region reached 42.2% compared to 40.7% for the country. Over the years, the traditionally leading industries of the Gabrovo economy have been preserved - machine building, instrumental equipment, mechatronics, electronics, plastic products, textiles and clothing, footwear, cosmetics, etc.
House of Humour and Satire
The House of Humour and Satire was opened on 1 April 1972 and has a fund of 37,500 artistic works. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and Gabrovo is known as “the capital of humour in Bulgaria.” Works of artists from 153 countries are exhibited here. The House not only collects, but also explores and promotes the humour and satire. The International Biennial of Humour and Satire, part of the May Cultural Holidays, is held here every other year. Its motto is: “The world survived, because it laughed.
Open-air Ethnographic Museum
Etar Architectural and Ethnographic Complex is a quarter of Gabrovo, an open air and first of its kind museum in Bulgaria. It is an original presentation of the authentic Bulgarian culture, lifestyle and artisanship. The unique collection of folk water techniques in Bulgaria, including 10 operating objects, is found here. This is why the water wheel has become a symbol of the complex. The Artisan Charshiya (street) presents 16 pieces of Balkan architecture, which reveal the exceptional talent of Revival builders. Every visitor can become a part of the folk traditions in Etar and feel the waft of the folk lifestyle.