Two years ago, we discovered Etar, a famous ethnographic village in Bulgaria, founded on the 7th of September 1964. The complex is situated at 8 km South of Gabrovo on the way to Stara Zegora and at 205 km from Sofia. Very famous in Bulgaria, it was for me a very nice discovery.
Usually, visiting museums is not the best way for everyone to discover a culture, and more generally, a country. In this case, it’s totally different. For Etar, it is different because the Ethnographic Complex has the particularity to be an open-air museum and a smaller model of the craft town of Gabrovo from the National Revival Era. Built near by a river, the quietness of this spot made me very relaxed and attentive to the visit.
The Etar Village presents a unique collection of the old-times water-driven machinery in Bulgaria. The most important thing about the collection is that all objects are in action as it used to be the past. The only collection of primitive, water-powered facilities in Bulgaria – laundry mills, flour mills, a fulling mill, a grinding wheel, etc. – are located in this nice complex.
This Etar museum – a typical reconstituted village – presents the architecture and the style of life in Gabrovo and the region during the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. This period also corresponds to a boom and a revival of business and art in the region. The city of Gabrovo, at that time, exported its productions in Bucharest, Vienna, Marseille and Anatolia.
The village of Etar based on ancient villages remains. It contains a total of 50 sites, on a central commercial street which presents houses with craft workshops (bell-making, pottery-making, manufacturing of sugar articles, furriery, manufacturing of copper vessels, etc.). The sweets we tested were very delicious and we wanted to buy all the sugar products of this shop !!
The visitors can purchase the articles made in front of them by the craftsmen or upon a preliminary request, the artisans working in the complex can organize trainings in traditional crafts. Visitors buy unique articles and they even know the artisan and the traditional way in which products have been created. It’s a very dynamic way to learn more about a culture.
Of course, in front of such a beautiful craftsmen working, we bought six coffee cups, pretty nice with current blue colors.
There, you can also find some water installations, a church, a school, a cavern where visitors can eat Bulgarian typical meals, bridges, the clock tower, and others installations to discover.
During the year, some celebrations take place there, such as Lazarovden (eight days before Easter), St. George’s day (6 May), Midsummer’s eve (24 June), St. Iliya’s day (20 July). During the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of September every year, the International Fair of Traditional Crafts is organized in the architectural and ethnographic complex Etar. Then, there is also an hotel on the territory of the architectural complex, in which the visitors can stay.
Definitely a place to visit if you live or come to spend your next summer’s vacations in Bulgaria. Some touristic guides say that this complex is a little bit superficial but in fact it was not our impression. We have the nice impression to be on an other age, that one of a Bulgarian village from the early 19th century. The objective of this complex has been reached.
Prices (+-) : in cash only : Adult : 6 euros, Student and Senior : 2/3 euros, Photography right : 6 euros.
Opening time : Whole year :
- 01/05 – 31/09 : 9:00am / 6:00pm
- other period : 9:00am / 4:30pm
Address : 9 km South to Gabrovo, by the Stara Zagora road. Free places along the river of the complex or toll parking close to the right entrance.
More : Public toilets – Speak english – Time to provide : 2 – 3 hours