Gabrovo, ‘Bulgaria’s Manchester’, now a city with 67,000 inhabitants, became important for the manufacture of woollen textiles in the nineteenth century, but had long traditions of craft manufactures. Both aspects of its industrial past are illustrated at Etar, an open air museum 8 km south of the city, opened in 1963 on the basis of collecting begun in 1949 by its first director, Lazar Donkov (1908-76). The museum occupies a deep wooded valley and many of its exhibits, some in situ and some removed from their original sites, are powered by water from the River Sivek. The museum’s objective is to show the way of life of the Gabrovo region between 1750 and 1900. Buildings that relate to textile manufactures include a fulling mill, a ribbon weaving shop, a dyehouse and a shop for spinning and weaving goats’ hair.
Further aspects of the city’s past are illustrated in the Museum of History.