Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex: A Journey Through History

Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex, Photo Credit to Custom Trip Team


Etar, Bulgaria is an architectural-ethnographic complex which is located a few kilometers from Bulgaria’s city of Gabrovo. The place is uniquely preserved and situated nicely on the banks of the Yantra river. The houses now turned into numberless workshops date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. It is considered to be one of the few ‘open air museums’ in the world and thousands of visitors come from all corners of the world to see and experience an “old lifestyle” unknown to many that still inspires and recharges with its eternal atmosphere still preserved in Etar.


Etar, Bulgaria, Photo Credit to Custom Trip Team
Etar, Bulgaria, Photo Credit to Custom Trip Team

At Bulgaria’s Etar Architectural-Ethnographic complex there is something for everyone. As you approach the entrance of the open-air museum the fresh and charming sense of boxwood will greet you seconds after you’ve stepped through the door. The welcoming smell, typical for Bulgaria’s 18-19th villages and/or house yards, will help you transfer two-three centuries back. The sounds of typical Bulgarian folk music coming from the restaurant at the beginning of the complex will increase the feel of Reviving Bulgaria, especially if you have already visited Plovdiv. All home made style and delicious meals, most cooked on outside stove with coals, will keep you at the restaurant for hours. Comfort is not the main goal, but authenticity as you will most likely be sitting on a log instead of a regular chair. 

Once full with shopska salata [typical Bulgarian salad made out of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, red papers and feta cheese], kebabcheta [Bulgarian type of sausage usually made out of pork] and shischeta [Bulgarian meat on a stick], you are ready to walk down of 18th century Bulgaria presented in the face of Etar.



Etar, Bulgaria, Photo Credit to Custom Trip Team
Etar, Bulgaria, Photo Credit to Custom Trip Team

As you make your stroll through the complex you will be able to participate, or simply watch, in shoe making, belt making, whistle making, wood carving, baking homemade dough or sweets, and many more activities typical for the daily life of 19th century Bulgarians. Craftsmen will gladly share their talents with you and carve items just for you. As you are walking between the stores and browsing don’t forget to look up at the different architecture of the houses, colors and their unique situation because they are built following the curve of the street below them–makes for a great picture! Be sure to stop by the “whistle shop” and buy a handmade whistle for you, your children, a friend or just for a souvenier. The family has been carving wooden whistles and other musical instruments for generations and the works skills and knowledge have been passed generation to generation. They will even carve your name on your item of choice.The sugar cocks are traditional for Etar, Bulgaria complex and favorites among children.

Although small in size Etar, Bulgaria will give you an experience of a lifetime. The gently flowing river in the center of the town contributes to its unique atmosphere, spirit, and message. Located in the mountains, this historically preserved town is peaceful, quiet, beautiful and awaits you to share its story. Your journey through history awaits you!

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