Gabrovo is a city in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province.
It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire, as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Gabrovo is also known as the longest city in Bulgaria, stretching over 25 km along the Yantra, yet reaching only 1 km (0.6 mi) in width at places. The geographic center of Bulgaria – Uzana is located near the city.
Places of interest in Gabrovo include the House of Humour and Satire and Aprilov National High School. In Gabrovo Province sites include architectural reserve Bozhentsi. Hiking is widely available in the Central Balkan National Park and in the Bulgarka Nature Park, itself home to Ethnographic Complex Etara, Dryanovo Monastery, Sokolski Monastery, Shipka Pass, and the Uzana area. For admirers of historical tourism Shipka Memorial is a must-see.
The area around Gabrovo, inhabited since the Neolithic, gained economic importance after Veliko Tarnovo became capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th century. Craftsmanship and trade prospered due to the proximity to both the capital and the Balkan passes. Medieval Gabrovo was a small pass village of about 100 houses.
According to the most widespread legend, Gabrovo was founded by a young blacksmith called Racho, close to whose fireplace a hornbeam (gabar in Bulgarian) rose, so the settlement acquired its name.
After the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the 14th century, the demographic position of Gabrovo changed significantly, as it was the only settlement in a considerably large geographic area and an attractive place for Bulgarians fleeing from the conquered capital and neighbouring fortresses. It turned from a village into a small town (palanka) and began to develop as an economic, cultural and spiritual centre.
Bulgarian Orthodox Theophany Crucession in Gabrovo. The priests are going to throw a wooden cross in the Yantra. Believers will then jump into the icy waters to “save” the cross.
During Ottoman rule, the rich tradesmen spent plenty of resources for the small town’s public planning. The first Bulgarian secular school, the Aprilov National High School, was founded in Gabrovo in 1835 with the aid of Vasil Aprilov and Nikolay Palauzov. Gabrovo was officially proclaimed a town by the Ottoman authority in May 1860. In the 1870s Felix Kanitz said that Gabrovo is “a big workshop” and that it is a “city that lives from the water,” referring to widely used water power. The glory of the goods of Gabrovo became known throughout the Ottoman Empire, and beyond that, in Bucharest even nowadays there is a street named “Gabroveni”.
Shortly before and after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Gabrovo developed as a centre of industry on the basis of its economic traditions. Joint-stock companies emerged, factories were constructed and connections to the large stock exchanges were created, prompting some to label the city “The BulgarianManchester”.
The Bulgarian National Revival church of Gabrovo, an architectural monument.
It is hard not to notice that this is the longest city in Bulgaria. With the amazing 28 km (17 mi) (this is a lot for Bulgaria, the Capital Sofia is only 21 km (13 mi) long), Gabrovo represent the past, the “now” and the future of the country. Recently the city won one of the biggest prices in the biggest National survey for “The best living city in Bulgaria” – Gabrovo won the “Greenest (Eco) city” and became 2nd in the readers contest. For more information you can see – dariknews.bg. Also Gabrovo is the city with most monumental statues – more than 14 000. The “city” also has an opportunity for business development. The Gabrovo Municipality Agenda says that Gabrovo has an BB+ credit raiting.