THE BUILDING OF APRILOV NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
The building of Aprilov National High School was constructed by Master Gencho Kanchev. Its foundation stone was laid in 1851 and in 1873 the construction was thoroughly completed. In 1979 it was declared a cultural monument of national significance.
THE TOWN’S CLOCK TOWER
It is located on the square named ‘May 1st 1876’ and is 27, 70 m. high. As a model of the Bulgarian Revival Architecture, the tower dates as far back as 1835. The clock mechanism was made by the Gabrovo craftsman Ivan Sahatchiyata (the clockmaker) and the bell was imported from Vienna. The clock face and hands were not installed until the Liberation from Turkish Yoke in 1878.
THE ASSUMPTION CHURCH
‘The Assumption’ church is a masterpiece of the Bulgarian Revival church architecture. It is located in the central part of the town and was built in 1865 by the great Renaissance Master Gencho Kanev. It was sanctified in October 26th 1866. In 1872 Bishop Ilarion Makariopolski was ordained as a Bishop of Tarnovo. The church has a form of basilica with a nave and two aisles, two domes and two rows of four columns. The master was also the creator of the decorative ornaments of the church which consist of stone reliefs of plant and animal patterns. The iconostasis was made of lime tree only for three years /from 1882 to1885/ and it is a remarkable model of the post-Liberation woodcarving. It was declared a cultural monument of national importance in 1976. In the little garden by the church there is situated the St. Petka of Gabrovo Chapel - the spiritual patroness of the town.
CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE PRECURSOR
‘St. John the Precursor’ Church is soaring in the central part of the town. It is remarkable with its wood-carved iconostasis made by Master George Rezbar /meaning “woodcarver”/ in 1814. The tomb of the great Bulgarian revolutionary Todor Kableshkov is situated in the church courtyard.
Trinity Cathedral is located in one of the busiest shopping streets in Gabrovo. It is imposing as a composition and interesting in terms of both architecture and artistic design. It was built by the great master Gencho Novakov. It was sanctified on November 5th 1889 by Climent - Bishop of Tarnovo.
Sokolsky Monastery is a cultural monument of national significance. It is located 15 km. southeast of Gabrovo and 4 km. away from the ethnographic museum ‘Etar’. The Monastery was founded by Archimandrite Joseph who, later in the fight for church independence, was known as Archbishop Joseph Sokolsky. In 1834, close to the entrance of the nearby Sokola Cave (meaning “falcon”) and the place of the small wooden church, built in 1833 with the finances and support of the peasants from the nearby villages, a big church was erected. It was a noticeable work of the Renaissance church architecture and icon-painting. During the Renaissance, Sokolski Monastery founded a monastery school. In the years of slavery, the sacred cloister gave shelter to the Apostle Vassil Levski and the band of Captain Dyado Nikola. 220 rebels headed by Tsanko Dyustabanov set off from here to their immortality. During the Russian-Turkish Liberation War (1877-1878), the Monastery became an infirmary. In the Monastery courtyard, immersed in flowers and greenery, a beautiful white stone fountain with eight spouts could be seen. It was built in 1868 by master-builder Kolyo Ficheto.
Memorial of Racho Kovacha
Gabrovo people have placed the statue of Racho Kovacha upon a cliff in the Yantra River to save residential area and not to waste money on flowers on the monument. Racho Kovacha was the founder of Gabrovo and his anvil shaped the means of living of the settlement. He gave the town the aspect of a craft-oriented settlement. As the legend goes the name of the town is derived from the name of the yoke-elm tree (‘gabar’), rising over his workshop.
The memorial of Vassil Aprilov, who contributed to the opening of the first Bulgarian secular school in 1835, is located right in front of Aprilov National High School. It was unveiled in 1935. Its author is Kiril Todorov, who graduated the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.
Memorial of Chardafon
The memorial of Chardafon is a testimonial to the transfiguration of a Russian bogatyr into a Bulgarian hero by changing the hero’s head and the memorial inscription. In short, the history of the memorial is the following: in totalitarian times, Gabrovo people decided to pay tribute to their fellow citizen Prodan Tishkov - Chardafon, a hero from the Union of Eastern Rumelia with the Bulgarian Principality in 1885, so they built a memorial of his resembling a military commander like him. A huge scandal occurred when his horse statue was already finished by the sculptor Ilia Iliev. It turned out that only royalties could be exhibited on a horse. So, in order to avoid the disgrace of the completed sculpture, Gabrovo people hurriedly changed Chardafon’s head for that of a Russian warrior and dedicated the memorial to the ‘Russian brother in arms’ (“bratushkite”). Upon arrival of democracy, the sculpture regained its previous head and original identity.
The memorial is located in front of the House of Culture named after the composer.
It is located in the little garden near the Theatre. It was created in 1961.
A Ship in the Woods
Gabrovo people claim that the ship-shaped building was erected on the woody hill in order not to sink. The ‘steamer’ is related to the name of Pencho Semov - a prominent Bulgarian industrialist, a chairman of the boards of managers of 18 factories, a founder of 3 banks and insurance companies, one of the founders of the Bulgarian Commercial Shipping Company, a share-holder in the Suez Canal, the greatest donator in Gabrovo after Vassil Aprilov. ‘Varna people played a trick on the Gabrovo manufacturer Pencho Semov and deprived him of the chairmanship of the Bulgarian Commercial Shipping Company. He just smiled and threatened them to build such a ship which would outlive their ‘wash-tubs’. And very soon he had an enormous three-storey villa built. To the fourth storey he gave the form of a ship made of reinforced concrete: decks with railings, little round illuminators, chimneys and a prow heading for ‘Kiselchova’ Mound.
Currently, The Ship in the Woods is a Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment of Lung Diseases.
Memorial of Captain Dyado Nikola - unveiled on August 1st 1884, located on the Shivarov Bridge.
Plastic arts composition, inscripted with the name ‘Gabrovo’ - situated at the entrance of the town to the direction of Sevlievo.
Memorial of Ran Bossilek
Baev Bridge Ensemble
These are the old and new Baev Bridges built in the immediate proximity to each other. Baev Bridge Ensemble glorifies the participation of Gabrovo people in the April Uprising in 1876 and their contribution to the secular education in modern Bulgaria from 1835. The sculpture compositions ‘Apriltsi’ and ‘Science’, as well as the figure of a wounded rebel are made by the creative team of Prof. Ilia Iliev, Dimitar Dimitrov, BorisGondov. The old Baev Bridge, which was made of hewn stone, is a rarity of its kind located in urban environment. Generally, these kinds of bridges are located mainly alongside roads.
Built by Master Mincho Stoyanov in1855, Baev Bridge belongs to the masterpieces of the Bulgarian National Architecture. Declared a cultural monument, the bridge was renovated in 1968 and since then it has been intended only for pedestrians. The new Baev Bridge dates back to 1967 and now it serves the car traffic.
‘The Yoke’ Bridge
This Bridge is a sculptural composition of 4 figures - works of the great Bulgarian sculptor Lyubomir Dalchev from 1936: the figure of Racho Kovacha (meaning ‘the smith’) - the founder of Gabrovo, the figure of a roaring lion - symbol of the reborn and rebellious Bulgarian spirit; the figure of mother Bulgaria shackled in chains and the figure of the Bulgarian man who managed to break the shackles as a result of immense efforts.
The Bridge of Handicrafts
It was built in 1963. Three typical Gabrovo crafts are displayed at the four corners of the bridge by the following sculptural compositions created in 1965: ‘Textile-workers’, ‘Leather-workers’, ‘Potters’ and ‘Builders”.
It was built over the place where the Sinkevitsa River flows into the Yantra River. High up on its columns, made of white stone from the town of Vratsa, four stone lions have perched. Each of them holds one of the town symbols. The water sign with the water-driven wheel is duplicated, so that the two rivers are equally honoured. The other two symbols are Racho Kovacha’s anvil and the book defining Gabrovo as the cradle of Bulgarian education.
The Bridge of Arts
Velichko Minekov chiseled out 4 graceful sculptures of white stone: Euterpa - the Muse of music; an аctor with a mask in his hand - a symbol of drama arts; two terpsichores transformed into Bulgarian girls walking lithely and dancing ‘Rachenitsa’ (traditional Bulgarian ring dance); the fourth figure represents fertility.
Gornokraysky Bridve (Bridge in the Upper End of the Town)
The bridge in the upper end of the town is actually located in the centre of the town. Its name and location designate the former upper end of the settlement.
Shivarov Bridge was built in 1967. It leads to Hristo Botev Stadium and was reasonably planned as a bridge of sports.