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Gabrovo, a destination of tradition, creativity and humour

Gabrovo ITB Berlin 2023

Gabrovo is both a town and a region with hundreds of years of history and culture, located in the “heart” of Bulgaria, not only because of its central geographical position, but because it is a place of productivity, pulsating with energy since its inception.

According to local legend, the village, founded by a blacksmith, took advantage of the river and the forests to produce knives, metal tools, lathe work, textiles and leather goods. This rich intangible heritage is part of today’s creative tourism offer that international travellers enjoy through an immersion in Gabrovo’s culture.

For similar reasons, Gabrovo was designated a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts by UNESCO in 2017. As a creative city, Gabrovo is committed to developing and exchanging innovative practices to promote creative industries, enhance participation in cultural life and integrate culture into sustainable urban life.

Gabrovo is also known as the international capital of humour. This is a very specific, self-deprecating humour that characterises Gabrovo people as witty – and creative – when it comes to saving money and all kinds of resources.
The territory of Gabrovo has 133 impressive villages, which are part of the magic of the region. Perched on the slopes of the Balkans, they are the ideal place for relaxation, summer residences for artists, art camps and performances. The nature of this mountain town provides a nuance that softens the typical urban characteristics, where industry coexists in harmony with cultural life and where socio-economic and community development involves messages and practices for a healthy and environmentally friendly life.

Handicrafts, traditions, humour and satire, as well as modern art, are at the heart of Gabrovo’s cultural life. The town has several cultural institutions: the open-air ethnographic museum “Etar”, the museum of the historical architectural reserve of the authentic village of Bozhentsi, the “House of Humour and Satire” and the interactive museum of industry. Gabrovo also hosts numerous international fairs and festivals such as the International Handicraft Fair, the International Festival of Humour and Satire, the International Meeting of Illusionists “Zaltna kotka”, the Festival of Spiritual Music, the International Festival of Chamber Music and a number of other musical and theatrical forums, all of which educate a discerning audience with a keen sense of humour.