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Etăr Architectural-Ethnographic Complex

Object type: Crafts, Festivals
location: Gabrovo

Elements of the traditional life style and culture of the Bulgarians are perceived as emblematic for national identity. They are included in museum expositions, a form of which is the Etăr Architectural-Ethnographic Complex. It was initiated in 1964 by Lazar Donkov and is situated 8 kilometers south to the town of Gabrovo. A part of the objects were restored on the spot, others were moved to the Etăr area, third are replicas of buildings once existed in Gabrovo and its region. The complex displays a craftsmen street with workshops (cutler’s, coppersmith’s, silversmith’s, potter’s, walnut-oil producer’s, woodcarver’s, dyer’s), water-powered machinery (water-mills, fulling-mill, nap-raising mill). On the second floor of the pottery there is an exhibition of Bulgarian national costumes while the Sakovs’ house displays the town life style from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Replicas of the St Epiphany Church in the village of Radovtsi, a clock tower, bridges, stone fountains are constructed in the complex. The exhibition hall houses different visiting exhibitions.

The big attraction of the Etăr Architectural-Ethnographic Complex are the crafts presented in action. Visitors can watch the manufacturing processes and even get trained with the masters. The complex also offers reenactments of traditional customs and rites according to the folk calendar. Since 1990 in the beginning of autumn a Fair of Traditional Crafts has been organized in the Etăr where one can see demonstrations of domestic crafts (rope-knitting, basket-knitting, wool dying, plums smoking, treacle making).

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