Did you know Gabrovo (Bulgaria), a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, has mobilized its museums to provide residents digital access to various art collections, archives and original exhibitions? A series of initiatives by different actors in the city have contributed to the continuation and appreciation of the city’s cultural heritage as well as the craftsmanship of their artisans.

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum (ETAR) is a leading actor in promoting Gabrovo’s craft culture. One of the main events organized is the annual ‘International Crafts Fair’ that encourages artisans from all over the country and abroad to display their artwork and exchange skills on traditional knowledge. To allow residents to explore Gabrovo’s art and culture during the ongoing pandemic, the ETAR Museum has opened virtual visits to its
gallery with 360-degree images. The gallery captures key areas of the city such as the old craftsman street, traditional facilities based on hydropower, and other architectural sites. The National Museum of Education, located in the city, in addition provides access to more than 200,000 documents, photographs and materials from its digital archives related to educational works from the tenth century to the present day. With the virtual access to the Regional Historical Museum, residents can dive into numerous research materials and key information on past historical events and initiatives. Since 25 March the Museum has displayed a new online exhibition titled ‘Embroidered by Gabrovo’, the first edition of the project ‘Created by the hands of Gabrovo’. Dedicated to the 160th anniversary of Gabrovo’s declaration as a city, the exhibition further highlights the local tangible cultural heritage and the city’s designation as UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art in 2017. In such trying times, Gabrovo’s initiatives affirm its support to cultural and creative industries, and use its creative potential as a key factor to enhance the local and regional competitiveness and sustainable development.