(Габрово) is a town 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 (see Gabrovo humour
), 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
The area around Gabrovo, inhabited since the Neolithic
, gained economic
importance after Veliko Tarnovo
of the Second Bulgarian Empire
in the 12th century. Craftsmanship
prospered due to the proximity to both the capital and the Balkan
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 (габър, 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.
During Ottoman rule, the rich tradesmen spent plenty of resources for the small town's public planning. The first Bulgarian secular school, the Aprilov Gymnasium, 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.
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 town "The Bulgarian Manchester".
Internationally known as a centre of humour
, Gabrovo has two theatres, the Racho Stoyanov Drama Theatre and the puppet theatre, a House of Humour and Satire
that serves as a cultural institute, a centre, museum and gallery to popularise comic art. There is also a cinema, Aleko Cinema, and a number of museums and menorial houses both in the town and around it, most notably the Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex
and the Museum of Education at the Aprilov Gymnasium
. A planetarium
is also in operation.
Gabrovo is twinnned
with the Belgian
town of Aalst
Places of interest in Gabrovo include House of Humour and Satire and Aprilov High School. In Gabrovo Province sites include architectural reserve Bozhentsi, Ethnographic Complex Etara, Dryanovo Monastery and Sokolski Monastery. Uzana, a local winter resort is some 22 km away. Hiking is widely available in the Central Balkan National Park. For admirers of historical tourism Shipka Memorial is a must-see.
A minor planet 2206 Gabrova
discovered on April 1
astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh
is named in honor of the city.
Gabrovo Knoll on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Gabrovo.
- Thun, Switzerland
- Mahilyow, Belarus
- Shaki, Azerbaijan
- Aalst, Belgium
- Mittweida, Germany
- Panevėžys, Lithuania
- Sisak, Croatia
- Nowy Sącz, Poland
- Preshov, Slovakia