In the region of TRYAVNA, there are traces of the material culture of different tribes and peoples who lived here for millennia.

The first traces of developed material and spiritual culture in these lands date back to the 4th – 3rd centuries BC. They were left by the Thracians: a Thracian sanctuary was discovered on Elova Mogila Mount. The inclusion of the Balkan Peninsula in the Roman Empire also left its traces on these territories. From this era, there is a road connecting large fortified settlements on both sides of the mountain – Discoduratera (near the village of Gostilitsa) and Augusta Trayana (Stara Zagora). The road passes near the town of Tryavna.

A legend tells that during the reign of the Asenevtsi brothers in the 12th century, the youngest brother Kaloyan built the St. Archangel Michael Church in the Travna Area. This is one of the three churches in the name of St. Archangel Michael built by the Asenevtsi in the region. Later, the village was built around it. The first reliable data on the existence of Tryavna were found in Turkish tax registers where the name of Tryavna was first mentioned in 1565. In the years of the slavery, the people living there had the obligation to guard the road through the Balkan to Edirne and Constantinople. In return, they enjoyed the privilege of not paying some taxes and not settling Turks in the village. Thus, the spiritual freedom gained contributed to the further development of the town in any aspect. There are three stories explaining the origin of the name Tryavna: the first one relates to the royal apiaries, so numerous and scattered around the Balkan Mountains, that people began to call the whole area with their name; the second one is related with the pass (from „trans – vena” or going beyond); and the third one is related with the lush grass growing in the Balkans.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Tryavna became the economic and cultural center of the region. Having a sense of beauty, faithfulness to the centuries-old traditions, and love for the Bulgarian, the Tryavna masters were most prominent in the field of construction, carving, and painting, which they mastered to such a perfection that turned them into an art. This is how the oldest Revival Arts School in the Bulgarian lands – that of Tryavna – came to existence, developed, and flourished. Houses, schools, and churches were built; master craftsmen and woodcarvers created their own guild associations and affirmed the influence of the Tryavna Art School. The icon-painters and the woodcarvers from Tryavna were famous all over Bulgaria and beyond.

Here, Vasil Levski’s compatriot Angel Kanchev, the poet Pencho Slaveykov, and the first Bulgarian professor of chemistry Pencho Raykov were born. For nearly a decade, Petko Rachev Slaveykov was a teacher in the Tryavna School (founded in 1839).

Dyado Nikola Square is the most significant, unique, and the only in Bulgaria completely preserved Revival square-ensemble [5], with the famous Clock Tower of the town dating back to 1814 (according to the information of Pop Yovcho, the Tryavna chronicler, also referred to by Slaveykov as the main reason for the pride of the people of Tryavna); the Slaveykov (Old School) to the right of the square, presently an art gallery and museum of the Tryavna Woodcarving School; with the ancient St. Archangel Michael Temple across the street, and the old stone bridge known as Givgiren Most (the Humpback Bridge) connecting the market with the square.

The houses in the architectural reserve have preserved their authentic appearance, with their woodwork workshops and shops and roofs covered with stone slabs. In this style is also the church of the town (just opposite the Clock Tower).

gerb-tryavnaIn the vicinity, there are the picturesque settlements of Bozhentsite (Bozhentsi), Skortsite, Velentsi, Kumanite, Voynitsite, Popovtsi (Chernovrah), Genchovtsi, Enchovtsi, Bozhkovtsi, Bizhevtsi, Radantsi, Plachkovtsi. The typical for the Balkan people humour has made the area around Gabrovo and Tryavna the center of the most funny settlement names in Bulgaria: Dupinite (Nikolaevo), Sarbogazite, Gazurnitsite (Lyubovo), Pradlevtsi and Dupelite (neighbours of the previous one), Tarsigazi (Tarsiite, Andreevo), Torba Lazhi, Hitrevtsi, Kreslyuvtsi, Barbortsi [6], Kiselkovtsi, Mrazetsi, Trapeskovtsi, Svirtsi, Kisiytsite, Malchovtsi, Bahretsi, Kartipanya, Prazhigrah, Bangeytsi, Chakalite, Bardeni, Pobak, Vrabtsite, etc. [7]. Nearby are the Peaks of Golyam Badek and Malak Badek, the chapels and the eco-paths to Buzovets Peak and Golyam Krastets Peak, to the Zmeyuva Dupka Cave [8] (Zmeeva, Zmeyova Dupka), to the very town of Tryavna and Marina (Parova) Dupka near Genchovtsi village, Bulgarka National Park with the Vikana Skala and Studeniya Kladenets Areas. The geographic center of Bulgaria – the Uzana Area in the Central Balkan Mountains – is also not far away.

In Tryavna, there are many hotels and guest houses offering cosiness and good service at reasonable prices and from the spacious old-style terrace of the Brashlyan Hotel, one can enjoy a wonderful view of the town.

In Tryavna, there is the Specialized Museum of Carving and Painting, one of the One Hundred National Tourist Sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union, comprising eight different museums: the Daskalova House, the Raykova House (the home of Prof. Pencho Raykov, the first Bulgarian chemist), the Angel Kanchev Museum House, the Old School, the Museum of the Icon, the Slaveykova House (the house where Pencho Slaveykov was born), the Kazakov Gallery, and the Museum of Asian and African Art. Other preserved ancient buildings that are currently museums are the Kalincheva House, the House of Pop Koyu Vitanov, the Clock Tower, the Popangelova House, etc.

Tryavna is the birthplace of Pencho Slaveykov and Angel Kanchev, and Capitan Petko Voyvoda lived here. This is one of the centres of the Bulgarian Revival, icon painting, carvings, masonry, education, church and national liberation struggles. The houses from the Revival period and the works of the Tryavna Icon Painting School have been preserved. The most remarkable architectural monuments and museums in the town are the Slaveykov (Old) School (1836) [10], the St. Archangel Michael Church (1819) [11] and the St. George Church (1848) [12], the Clock Tower (1814) [13], the Daskalova House (1804) [14], the Slaveykova House (1830) [15], the Angel Kanchova House (1805) [16], the Raykova House (1846) [17], the Kalincheva House (1830) [18], the Royal Chapel of Tsaritsa Giovanna (1943, project by architect Yordan Sevov) – Museum of the Icon [19], the Old Bath (the beginning of the 20th century) – Museum of Asian and African Art [20], the Gallery of the Tryavna Iconography School in the Tsar’s Sanatorium for Children [21], the Thracian Sanctuary (4th century BC) [22], the Thracian Rock Sanctuary from the early Iron Age – Sechen Kamak [23], the Kiliite Caves inhabited in the 2nd – 1st century BC [24], the very close village of Bozhentsi, the village of Skortsite with preserved icon-paintings by Zahari Zograf, the Strinava Fortress of the 12th century [25] near the village of Tsareva Livada, the Dryanovo Monastery (12th century) with Bacho Kiro Cave 300 m away from it, the Kilifarevo Monastery (1348), and the Sokolovo Monastery (1833), the Roman Trans-Haemus Road (3rd – 4th century AD) [26], etc.