Gabrovo is a place with a unique history. The foundation of which starts at the turning of Tarnovgrad into the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th century and the consequent importance of the way through the Shipka Pass. A village of free and skilled in warfare people who take security on the road. They had the privilege to pay less taxes, to retain ownership of their land and the goods produced by them. Local people who had made their life as an integral part of the Bulgarian state, built a church, cloister and linked its existence with the passing relics of Saint Petka, the cult of which remains to this day. The conquest of the country by the Ottoman Turks changed radically their livelihoods and had almost no effect on their Orthodox way of life and habits.
They continued to guard the pass, because of which they belonged to the paramilitary squads aree dervendjii - guardians. Their task was to guard the passing caravans and government officials, which bore collective responsibility. For a short time they have been assigned to the lands of senior military but later became part of the people of the Grand Vizier. Representative of the "royal" power was Aga Hassan, the Bulgarian - leader of a military band and the local priest - of the "citizens' power. Privileges to bear arms, to pay half of the taxes and not to have large armies, they received a sultan decision, which is confirmed by each new sultan. Their number grew over the years - from 96 families in 1478 to 500 in 1545 and reached about 3,000 inhabitants at the end of the 17th century. Historical sources describe them with different physical data, but among them are young with an average height, brown hair, beards and mustaches and shaved heads. They have the confidence of independent people who were described by one of the most famous Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi in 1662, when he had fend off an attack from a Bulgarian military battalion, armed with guns and axes, drum and flag bearing a Christian cross.
Formed the four main pillars of the Bulgarian nation-state - Bulgarian municipality, the movement for an independent church, new Bulgarian school and the movement for recognition of the Bulgarians as a separate nation in the Ottoman Empire. The word of Gabrovo mayors (landlords) weighed before Tarnovo leader and even in Constantinople in front of the Great Gate. Gabrovian was the organizer of the construction of the first Bulgarian Orthodox church in Istanbul and issuing sultan for release of Bulgarian people from the community called "Rumeli Millet" (Roman people), represented by the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate. With the funds raised from Gabrovo, as an idea of Vasil Aprilov, the first Bulgarian secular school opened, which became a model for education in the Bulgarian lands.
In the years of the liberation of the Bulgarians, during the so-called Russo-Turkish War, Gabrovo was one of the ten Bulgarian cities with the largest contribution to the victorious end. Local people filled the ranks of volunteer battalions and organized security detachments, offered workers for the building of roads and construction of military equipment, scouts led military columns of Russian troops to the south by the mountains, took in their homes thousands of refugees, organized hospitals, shelters for children and old people, and at the end of battles and they established a camp for captured Turkish soldiers.