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Gabrovo is a city in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire (see Gabrovo humour), as well as noted for its Bulgarian National Revivalarchitecture. Gabrovo is also known as the longest city in Bulgaria, stretching over 25 km along the Yantra, yet reaching only 1 km (0.6 mi) in width at places. The geographic center of Bulgaria - Uzana is located near the city. The area around Gabrovo, inhabited since the Neolithic, gained economic importance after Veliko Tarnovo becamecapital 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. According to the most widespread legend, Gabrovo was founded by a blacksmith called Racho, close to whosefireplace a hornbeam (דאבתנ, gabar in Bulgarian) rose, so the settlement acquired its name. 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 forBulgarians 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. During Ottoman rule, the rich tradesmen spent plenty of resources for the small towns public planning. The first Bulgarian secular school, the Aprilov National High School, was founded in Gabrovo in 1835 with the aid of Vasil Aprilov and Nikolay Palauzov. Gabrovo was officially proclaimed a town by the Ottoman authority in May 1860. In the 1870s Felix Kanitz said that Gabrovo is "a big workshop" and that it is a "city that lives from the water," referring to widely used water power. The glory of the goods of Gabrovo became known throughout the Ottoman Empire, and beyond that, in Bucharest even nowadays there is a street named "Gabroveni". Shortly before and after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Gabrovo developed as a centre of industry on the basis of its economic traditions.

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