Etar museum is a must do attraction when visiting the area of Veliko Tarnovo or Gabrovo district It is one of the best museums in Bulgaria and is unique in the fact that it has the only collection of water driven machinery in Bulgaria and about 10 of these buildings can be seen. Set in a wonderful location along the side of the River Sivek the open museum of Etar is also known and called the ‘Architectural Ethnographic complex’ and shows the architecture, customs and way of life of the region of Gabrovo during the Bulgarian National revival period. Here you can see buildings that have been moved from their original place in the region and rebuilt and restored to their former glory. The Karadzheyka water-mill was built around 1780.
Etar and the Bulgarian National Revival period.
The Bulgarian revival period is usually divided into three periods The first period starts in the 18th century up until the beginning of the 19th century. The second from the Ottoman reforms of the 1820s to the 1850s until the Crimean War. The third period dates from the Crimean War until the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878.
What to see and do at Etar
Apart from the architectural buildings, you will see craftsmen using old traditions of wood carving, knife making, weaving, pottery and much more. Information boards are written in both Bulgarian and English to help you understand what each building was and how it was used. There are shops where you can buy fresh baked hearth breads called ‘purlenkas’ they are very tasty with feta or other local cheeses. Many other sweet items can be bought also. Throughout the year there are festivals held within the complex and the annual international craft fair takes place the first weekend in September. If you live local to Etar you can try your hand at many of the craft courses that take part through the year. Here is a link to the Etar hobby website. There are two entrances to the Etar museum and a large car /bus park at the furthest entrance. There are two restaurants to choose from, again one at either end of the museum. The admission fee is 6 leva for adults and concessions for students and pensioners.