Dryanovo Municipality is situated in the central part of the Stara Planina Mountain, on area of 248,5 m2, with altitude varying from 180 to 640 m above sea level. In the municipality there is huge diversity of natural forms: magnificent mountain slopes covered with mixed broad-leaved woods, hills and rocks, among which are slowly floating the waters of the rivers Yantra and Dryanovska. The climate in the region is moderately continental, with mild winter and warm and fresh summer, which makes Dryanovo a place suitable for holidais during the whole year. Dryanovo municipality is part of Gabrovo district. It includes the town of Dryanovo together with 62 small settlements. The town of Dryanovo could easily be reached by train (the railway track Rousse-Podkova) or by car (the main road Rousse-Stara Zagora). It lies on 22 km. from the city of Gabrovo with its ethnographical sites, 24 km. from the Medieval capital of Bulgaria- Veliko Tarnovo, 17 km. from the town of Tryavna , famous with its architectural ensembles, 34 km. from the town of Sevlievo. The nearest airport is Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport.
The archaeological researches have found traces of pre-historical cultures proving that the natural treasures of Dryanovo region were evaluated even in the Old Stone Age (100 000 – 10 000 years B.C.) . Remnants of the cultures of the Thracians and of the Romans also exist in Dryanovo. During the second century the citizens of Augusta Trayana ( the old name of Stara Zagora) founded one of the main market places on the South of the river Danube , near the village of Slaveykovo, Dryanovo. It became an important commercial and transport center. During the early Byzantine epoch Dryanovo was on the way to five mountain passageways of strategic military and economic importance. During VI century, in the region of Dryanovo there were about eight fortifications, which were part of the Roman fortification system. Later on in XII century the region became an important part of the protective and defensive line of the Old Bulgarian capital-Veliko Turnovo. The town of Dryanovo was mentioned in historical documents for the first time in 1470. According to the tax registers of the Ottoman Empire from the second half of XV century, Dryanovo was a “vakaf” (free of taxes hereditary land) owned by Kasam Pasha – an eminent commander and co-ruler of the European part of the Ottoman Empire. During that time, the citizens of Dryanovo were slightly over 500 people, only 38 of whom were Bulgarian families. In the middle of XVI century the Christian families were 242, while the Mohammedan families only 6. In XVII century the number of the people was doubled and in XIX century it increased even more. According to the periodicals of that time, in 1872 in the municipality lived 4269 Bulgarian families and 164 Mohammedan ones.
For many centuries the people of Dryanovo guarded the mountain passageways and roads of central Stara Planina Mountain for which the Ottoman rulers gave them some privileges and a special tax statute. Geographically and economically, Dryanovo was one of the places where the transition to modern sociopolitical and cultural ideas started for the first time (during the period of the Enlightenment, XVIII-XIX century). It turned into a radical and dynamically developing town with typically urban way of life and way of thinking of its citizens. Although they were engaged in agriculture, their main income came from crafts and commerce. During the middle of the XVIII century the builders and of the shoemakers became really prosperous and socially active. The professions of the butchers, traders, tailors, weavers and blacksmiths were also popular. The merchants from Dryanovo supplied the Ottoman army with meat and other products; they exported silkworms and cocoons to Italy and France. The Dryanovians -Tsachevi brothers managed the biggest import-export company in Bulgaria in the first half of XIX century. Dryanovo was famous as the birth place of many talented master builders known not only in the country but also abroad. Their follower Kolyu Ficheto (1800-1881) became the pride of classical Bulgarian architecture. In XIX century the representatives of the Dryanovo middle-class were extremely well-to-do and highly patriotically spirited. They supported the movement for secular education and financed the foundation of three communal and one private school and three churches. They founded the first cultural institution in Dryanovo - community center “Obshtiy Trud”, in 1869. Since the middle of XIX century the people of Dryanovo were strongly influenced by democratic and revolutionary ideas. Some craftsmen, traders and intellectuals organized a revolutionary committee in Dryanovo in 1870 and took part in the rebels and the uprisings for the national liberation of Bulgaria. They were most active during the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878), when hundreds of people helped the Russian army and 150 people went to the front as volunteers. All the travelers who had visited Dryanovo in the past were impressed by the industry and the virtues of the people as well as of the European outlook of the town. The houses in Dryanovo were two or three-storeyed, whitewashed, with stone roofs and gardens full of flowers. The streets were clean, covered with pebbles and decorated with a lot of greenery, echoing by the sound of the old clock tower. Contemporary Dryanovo has preserved its traditions and its historical and cultural values and today it is an administrative, economic, educational and cultural center of the municipality which is constantly developing.
Dryanovo Monastery "St. Archangel Michael"
Dryanovo Monastery is situated on 5 km westwards from the town of Dryanovo, in the picturesque canyons of the Dryanovska and Andaka rivers. The monastery is set in a unique landscape of rolling hills, steep rock chains and caves, which boast of great variety of animals and plants. The seclusion of the place, the impact which the beauty of nature has on people, the tranquility brought by the slowly floating rivers, green hills and white limestone cliffs, the calmness of the soft blue sky make people forget the dynamism of everyday life. The magnificent gorge, in which the monastery is situated, has a long history. The first traces of life date back to the pre historical epochs when people had lived in the caves surrounding the monastery. The earliest artifacts proving the existence of human life were found in "Backo Kiro" Cave and date back to the second half of the Old Stone epoch (100 000 – 10 000 years B.C.). Today, the cave is electrified and opened for visits of tourists. The cultural and settlement traditions went on during the Copper-Stone Age and during the Bronze Age. From the beginning of the Old Iron Age till the Antiquity period the place was populated by Thracians.
Dryanovo Monastery "St. Archangel Michael" was founded in the Middle Ages during the reign of king Kaloyan, after the relics of St. Michael Voin were carried from Potuka to Tarnovo (1197 – 1207). The procession staid for one night near the river Dryanovska and according the Christian canon a monastery had to be built on the holy place. During the centuries Dryanovo Monastery turned into a center of Bulgarian culture and education. It played an important part for the preparation of the April Uprising, because supplies of food and weapons were stored there. On 29 April 1876 the band of pop Hariton came into the monastery. They were surrounded by the Turks but they kept fighting for 9 days. Most of the members of the band lost their lives in the battle. The monastery was destroyed and burnt down but it was partially reconstructed in 1877 when the first ceremony in the name of the killed fighters from the band took place. It was later fully reconstructed during the 1890s. The charnel-house in remembrance of the killed fighters was built in 1897 near the church of the monastery. Today, Dryanovo Monastery is a holy place, highly respected by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, a monument of national and historical importance and a site attracting many tourists.
BACHO KIRO CAVE
Bacho Kiro" Cave is situated in the picaresque canyons of the Andaka and Dryanovska rivers, 300 m. from Dryanovo Monastery "St Archangel Michael", on a vertical, limestone cliff, 25 meters high. The cave stands at an altitude of 335 meters above sea level.
It is the first electrified cave in Bulgaria (1938) and it is named after the hero from the April Uprise – Bacho Kiro (1940). In 1962 the cave was officially proclaimed for a site of national importance. In 1961 the tourist route was extended and electrified a new. In 2002 the electrification was repaired and modernized once again, with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Waters. ("Reconstruction and modernization of the tourist route and electrification of Bacho Kiro Cave" project, prepared by Tourist Association Bacho Kiro Dryanovo and Dryanovo Municipality).The cave was officially re-opened after the repairing works on 1 July 2002.
The cave is a complicated, four storey labyrinth of galleries It was formed under the force of underground floating rivers in limestone rocks. According to the geomorphological researches the initial formation lasted for about 1 800 000 years. Gradually the waters of the rivers formed the galleries and the halls, during the Late Tertiary. The secondary formation is the process of "painting" of the rocks and the formation of stalactites, stalagmites and stalactones by the karst drops of water containing lime. The electrified rout for tourist is 700m. The new halogen lighting, almost as strong as day light, allows the tourists to see the fantastic formations of nature: -The Rain Hall with the Stone Flower, The willows. The Lake of happiness, The Concert Hall (situated 18 m. above the entrance), The Jellyfish, the Bear's Slide , The Bear's meadow, the lonely Stalactone - Pop Hariton's Hall - The Elephant, The Cave Ear, The Purgatory, The Throne, The Cave Eagle, The Reception Hall, which has thousands of forms. The cave was studied and described for the first time in 1890 by professor Urenich, who at that time was a teacher in the Aprilovska Secondary School in Gabrovo. Five years later the Shkorpil brothers, who were the pioneers of Bulgarian Archeology, made some researches. Between 1920-1937 few archeological expeditions were made by the famous Bulgarian archeologist and speleologist Rafail Popov, who gathered the first scientific data and who found the first remnants of pre-historic people, who have lived in the cave. An archeological expedition, lead by the English explorer and expert in the Old Stone Age Dorothy Garod, came in 1937. They found a skeleton of a cave bear with a jaw about 3 m long. The skeleton is exhibited now in the British Museum in London.
In 1971 – 1976 the Bulgarian-Polish expedition of the famous archeologists Sirakov, J. Kozlovski, and B. Drobnevich made detailed excavations of the cave. The result was the discovery of thousands of artifacts, mainly implements made of flint and bones (like knives, scrapers, etc.) The analysis of the data showed some of the earliest traces of human life on the Balkan Peninsula. The cave is managed by the Tourist Association in Dryanovo since it was opened for visitors for the first time in 1938. Nowadays the visitors of the cave are lead by guides. The cave is opened for tourists during the whole year, each day of the week from 8,00 a.m. till 7.00 p.m. in the Summer season and from 10.00 a.m. till 4.00 p.m. in the Winter season. Visitors can choose between two routes: a short one (25 minutes) and a long one ( 60 minutes)
Special Thanks to www.dryanovo.com