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Subject: Gabrovo Province, Dryanovo, 2016 European Women's Handball Championship qualification, Sokolski Monastery, Uzana
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Flag of Gabrovo
Coat of arms of Gabrovo
Coat of arms
Gabrovo is located in Bulgaria
Location of Gabrovo
Country Bulgaria
 • Mayor Tanya Hristova
 • City 233.817 km2 (90.277 sq mi)
Elevation 392 m (1,286 ft)
Population (Census February 2011)[1]
 • City 58,950
 • Density 250/km2 (650/sq mi)
 • Urban 65,268
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 5300
Area code(s) 066
Website Official website

Gabrovo (Bulgarian: Габрово) 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 (see Gabrovo humour), as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Gabrovo is also known as the longest city in Bulgaria, stretching over 25 km[2] 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.


  • History 1
  • Population 2
    • Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition 2.1
  • Culture 3
  • Tourism 4
  • Sports 5
  • Honors 6
  • Notable people 7
  • Education 8
    • University 8.1
  • International relations 9
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


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 blacksmith called Racho,[3] 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.

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 Bulgarian Manchester".[4]

The Bulgarian National Revival church of Gabrovo, an architectural monument.


Gabrovo saw its most rapid growth in the post-World War II years, when its population was doubled. Following general population trends in Bulgaria, the number of citizens started declining after the fall of Communism in the country. People started emigrating abroad or to the capital of Sofia. Currently, Gabrovo is more than 20,000 people short of its peak, achieved in the period 1985-1991 when the number of the residents exceeded 80,000.[5] The following table presents the change of the population after the liberation of the country in 1887. According to Census 2011, as of February 2011, the population of the city was 58,950 inhabitants.[1]
Year 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2011
Population 7,958 8,423 13,668 21,180 37,919 57,920 75,091 81,629 76,529 67,065 58,950
Highest number 81,786 in 1986
Sources: National Statistical Institute,[1][5][6] „“,[7] „“,[8] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences[9]

Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition

According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:[10][11]

  • Bulgarians: 54,227 (97.9%)
  • Turks: 473 (0.9%)
  • Roma: 343 (0.6%)
  • Others: 193 (0.3%)
  • Indefinable: 151 (0.3%)
    • Undeclared: 3,563 (6.0%)

Total: 58,950

The ethnic composition of Gabrovo Municipality is 60,207 Bulgarians, 504 Turks and 367 Roma among others.


Internationally known as a centre of humour and satire, 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 National Museum of Education at the Aprilov National High School. A planetarium is also in operation.


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.


  • City's most successfully sports club is FC Yantra Gabrovo, which was founded in 1919.
  • The city also has long handball traditions.
  • About 25 km (16 mi) from the city in Central Balkan Mountains is located the renowned winter resort Uzana.


A minor planet 2206 Gabrova discovered on April 1, 1976 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh is named in honor of the city.[12]

Gabrovo Knoll on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Gabrovo.

Notable people

  • Vasil Aprilov (1789-1847) - revivalist and educator; founder of the first secular school in Bulgaria[13]
  • Nikolay Palauzov - marchant, donated money for the Gabrovian school[14]
  • Ivan Kolchev Kalpazanov (1835–1889) - industrialist, ancestor of the modern industry in Gabrovo and Kingdom of Bulgaria (1882)[15]
  • Ivan Hadji Berov (1858-1934) - industrialist- lit the first light globe in Bulgaria - erected the first hydro electric power plant in Gabrovo[16]
  • Tsanko Dyustabanov - revolutionary[17]
  • Christo Yavashev - installation artist[18]



Gabrovo has one of the biggest technical universities in Bulgaria, the Technical University of Gabrovo. The technical university in Gabrovo opened in 1964. The idea for the university came from the 1840s. Today the university has about 5400 students; around 60 of them are from other countries.[19]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Gabrovo is twinned with:[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c (Bulgarian)National Statistical Institute - Main Towns Census 2011
  2. ^ Bulgaria (Other Places Travel Guide). Other Places Publishing. 2012. p. 135.  
  3. ^ Kay, Annie (2008). Bulgaria. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 157.  
  4. ^ Gabrovo in Encyclopaedia Britannica
  5. ^ a b (Bulgarian)National Statistical Institute - Towns population 1956-1992
  6. ^ (English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2009
  7. ^ (English) „WorldCityPopulation“
  8. ^ „“
  9. ^ (Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  10. ^ (Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute
  11. ^ Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (Bulgarian)
  12. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 179.  
  13. ^ Crampton, R. J. (November 24, 2005). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 60.  
  14. ^ Entangled Histories of the Balkans. BRILL. June 13, 2013. p. 185.  
  15. ^ Palairet, Michael R. (November 13, 2003). The Balkan Economies c. 1800-1914. Cambridge University Press. p. 245.  
  16. ^ Anamnesis article by Hristo Berov
  17. ^ Conflicting Loyalties in the Balkans. I.B.Tauris. May 15, 2011. p. 138.  
  18. ^ Baal-Teshuva, Jacob (2001). Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Taschen. p. 11.  
  19. ^ "Technical University of Gabrovo".  
  20. ^ "Twin Towns". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Miasta partnerskie i zaprzyjaźnione Nowego Sącza". Urząd Miasta Nowego Sącza (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

External links

  • Gabrovo municipality's home page
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