Etar Museum, Gabrovo
Set in a narrow, wooded valley just eight kilometres south of Gabrovo is the open air Architectural and Ethnographic Etar Museum. Its main purpose is to portray active water techniques which have been restored to emulate working mills from the same methods used from the late eighteenth century to early nineteenth century. You can wander around at your leisure and watch firsthand how the flow of water is used in milling via a range of mechanisms from both in and outside working areas.
In addition to the water-powered exhibits, take a stroll down a small, cobbled street and you’ll find the Craft Bazaar where you get the chance to step back in time and observe local artisans demonstrate traditional skills from inside their workshops. The surrounding buildings beautifully reassemble Renaissance architecture and are designed to represent a mini version of Gabrovo during this period.
You have the opportunity to buy their handmade goods as souvenirs and can choose from wool weaved rugs, cutlery, pottery, wooden or metal crafts, and a favourite from the kids, the loud clanking of cow-bell making! If you’re feeling like a snack while you’re wandering around, try out the excellent sweet shop or the bakery selling very tasty pastries. However, during quieter seasons, you might not be able to see all the artisans at work as we found many of the workshops empty when we visited.
If you want to get involved with craft-making techniques, Etar offers courses teaching some of the handicrafts, or, if you’re like me, you might just want to visit the Craft Fair which takes place every September.
For more information check out the Etar website here