Bulgaria - Central Bulgaria & Sofia

Tryavna is a town in central Bulgaria on the north slopes of the Balkan range, on the Tryavna River valley, near Gabrovo. It is famous for its textile and crafts industry and typical National Revival architecture, featuring 140 cultural monuments, museums, and expositions.

Tryavna is the birthplace of Bulgarian writer Pencho Slaveykov and revolutionary Angel Kanchev. The area has been inhabited since Thracian times, but the earliest definitive proof of the existence of the modern village dates to the 12th century, in the years around the conquest of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom by the Ottoman Turks. During the period of Bulgarian National Revival, when Bulgarian society redefined itself in the 18th and 19th centuries during the Ottoman occupation, the town became heavily involved in developing crafts. Houses from this period feature their architectural design. The ground floors had irregular forms and housed craftsmen and traders. The upper floors featured wooden bow windows, and the roofs were covered with well-arranged rocks. It might be pint-sized, but Tryavna’s town centre is full of architectural grace from the Bulgarian Revival age (18th-19th century).

As you enter the old town via the Hunchbacked Bridge from 1845, you’ll face the gorgeous timber-framed clock tower from 1814. On the Captain Dyado Nikola Square, set the massive gate ajar to take a peek inside the quiet, monastery-like yard of the Old Tryavna School: this was one of Bulgaria’s earliest secular schools, dating to 1839. And don’t miss the stone Church of the Holy Archangel Michael at the edge of the square, built in its current form in 1819 in the unmistakable local architectural style. Afterwards, savour the spirit of the Bulgarian Revival as you follow the rows of traditional, white-painted slate-roof houses, stores and workshops on the Street of Handicrafts. You’ll end up right in front of the Museum of Woodcarving and Icon-painting, where you can sign up for a short woodcarving workshop.

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