Return Taxi trip from Sunny Beach to Etara-Gabrovo-Tsarevets
The earliest evidence of human presence on the hill dates from the 2nd millennium BC. It was settled in the 4th century and a Byzantine city, tentatively identified with Zikideva, was constructed near the end of the 5th century, on the grounds of which the construction of the Bulgarian stronghold was begun in the 12th century. After the Vlach-Bulgarian Rebellion and the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire with its capital in Veliko Tarnovo, the fortress became the most important one in Bulgaria, often compared with Rome and Constantinople in magnificence. In 1393, the stronghold was besieged by Ottoman forces for three months before finally being conquered and burnt down on 17 July, which marked the fall of the Bulgarian Empire.
The area around Gabrovo, inhabited since the Neolithic, gained economic importance after Veliko Tarnovo became capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th century. Craftsmanship and trade prospered due to the proximity to both the capital and the Balkan passes. Medieval Gabrovo was a small pass village of about 100 houses.
After the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the 14th century, the demographic position of Gabrovo changed significantly, as it was the only settlement in a considerably large geographic area and an attractive place for Bulgarians fleeing from the conquered capital and neighbouring fortresses. It turned from a village into a small town (palanka) and began to develop as an economic, cultural and spiritual centre.
The Open Air Ethnographic Museum «Etar» (Bulgarian: Етнографски музей на открито „Етър“, usually referred to as Етъра, Etara) is an open-air museum and a neighbourhood of Gabrovo (8 km south of its center) in northern Bulgaria. It is located on the northern edge of the Bulgarka Nature Park, between the park and the city of Gabrovo.
It presents the Bulgarian customs, culture and craftsmanship. It spans over an area of 7 ha and contains a total of 50 objects, including water installations and houses with craftsmen's workshops attached. As a whole, the complex's goal is to illustrate the architecture, way of life and economy of Gabrovo and the region during the Bulgarian National Revival.
The museum's construction started in 1963 under the direction and project of Lazar Donkov. The pre-existing Karadzheyka water-mill, built around 1780, was thoroughly reconstructed, with the other objects being constructed later. The complex was opened on 7 September 1964 and proclaimed a national park in 1967, as well as a monument of culture in 1971.
The park features typical Bulgarian revival houses with two floors, bay windows, a clock tower, and a beautifully decorated house by Saakov featuring 21 windows. Using original instruments and following the old traditions, locals represent around 20 characteristics of the regional crafts such as wood-carving, pottery, coppersmith crafts, furriery, cutlery making, needlework etc. There are shops for souvenirs. There are numerous restaurants in the park where tourist could consume local Bulgarian cuisine. There are visitors to the park, from all over the world, all the year round, especially during the annual Christian festivals celebrated in the park, namely, Palm Sunday and Easter.
Sokolski Monastery is situated several kilometers away from Etar.