Over 50% of the territory of Gabrovo is covered by forests, predominantly beech-trees. One third of the territory is included in Nature 2000. The largest mountain lawn in the Balkan, part of Uzana Resort is about 20 km away from Gabrovo. It is a favourite area for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, mountaineering and excursions all the year round. Sections of two natural parks – Central Balkan National Park and Bulgarka Natural Park are in the municipal territory.
The settlement emerged in 12th century. Close to the medieval capital and mountain pass, it turned into a center of crafts and trading. 26 crafts were reported to be practiced in 19 century. During the national Revival, Gabrovo entrepreneurial community took active part in the formation of the modern State – establishment self-governing body (municipality), development of the modern education, struggles for independent church and for acknowledgment Bulgarian nationality within the Ottoman empire.
During the Revival, numerous impressive residential houses and public buildings, churches, fountains, bridges, a clock tower, etc. were built. The first Bulgarian secular school was opened in Gabrovo in 1835, the first textile factory - in 1882. Gabrovo is where modern factory production in Bulgaria was initiated more than 150 years ago. In the 19th century crafts and trade proliferated, Gabrovo was called "The Bulgarian Manchester" and known throughout Europe and in the near East. Gabrovo maintained its position of the country’ industrial center no matter what the political organization of the state has been, being known for its weaving, knitwear, textile, leather industry, machine building, engineering productions and technological development.
In the modern Bulgarian state (after 1878) Gabrovo was home to outstanding politicians, industrialists, scientists, artists and writers. Gabrovo residents are famous for their thriftiness and sense of humour. The House of humour and satire was opened here in 1973. The annual carnival attracts diverse participants and thousands of guests.
Keeping the traditional Gabrovo spirit alive, for more than a decade, the local government manages to be one the leading local authorities in Bulgaria implementing energy efficiency and clean technologies, providing modern transport connections, realizing partnership/joint initiatives with local business, Technical university - Gabrovo and civic sector, promoting environmental policies and applying modern maintenance of the urban green areas (UGA), involving the citizens along.
The political vision of Gabrovo Municipality is to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and competitiveness, addressing the principal societal challenges. The long-term vision is: “Gabrovo Municipality – Green, Innovative, Sustainable”. It is based on community participatory involvement and provision of modern public infrastructure (transport, educational, social, cultural, etc.) for better life conditions of the citizens. The strategic municipal documents build upon the traditional practices and EU and national development policies, finding local growth perspectives in the global world.
Nowadays, Gabrovo demonstrates a stable economic growth. Labor market is comparatively favorable. The unemployment rate is traditionally low. Gabrovo ranks second in Bulgaria in both economic and social development after Sofia (capital city). Income in the district is higher than the national average, and salaries have been rising at a stable rate. Education and healthcare indicators show an overall good condition of these sectors in the district. Gabrovo is second in the country in terms of cultural life intensity – immediately after the capital. The region is rich also in immovable cultural heritage, which is profoundly studied, preserved and exhibited.
Gabrovo is well presented internationally. The city has partnership with 13 twin cities and is a member of the National and the Regional Associations of the Municipalities, Municipal Network EcoEnergy, Civitas, Culture 21 Pilot Cities Network, UNESCO cities network, Covenant of Mayors, etc.