Famous people from Gaborovo

Vasil Aprilov  (1789 – 1847)

Vasil Aprilov was born in Gabrovo. He graduated from the high school in Brasov and for a short time studied medicine in Vienna. He worked hard for the educational and cultural rise of the Bulgarian people. In 1835. with the help of Nikolay St. Palauzov, the brothers Konstantin and Dimitar Mustakovi, and other Bulgarian merchants in the diaspora, as well as the help of Metropolitan Ilarion of Turnovo, he managed to open the first purely Bulgarian mutual school in Gabrovo, the current Aprilov High School. The first textbooks, aids and tools were created for the needs of the school, which were looked upon as a reference by the later established Bulgarian schools. Vasil Aprilov gave directions to the entire Bulgarian school work with his works “Dennitsa of the new Bulgarian school” (1841), “Addition to the Dennista” (1842),” Thoughts on the current Bulgarian teaching process” (1847). He resolutely defended the new Bulgarian language as the basis of secular education.

He died of tuberculosis in Galatz and later his relics were carried and buried in the yard of the Aprilov High School. In 1935, a monument was erected in front of the school building. It depicts the different stages in the development of the Bulgarian education.

Lazar Donkov (1908 – 1976 г.)

Lazar Donkov (1908 – 1976) is the man who created the Etara – the unique open-air museum with which Gabrovo is so proud. On the “Lazar Donkov” street is one of our guest apartments. Although he was not an architect, Lazar Donkov had a unique knowledge of architecture and ethnology. He is the author of the idea of the museum, the person who built it, his first director and tour guide. He himself participated in the construction of the facilities, invested his own funds in them, went round to find suitable timber and personally selected the masters.

Post mortem he was proclaimed an honorable citizen of Gabrovo.

Todor Burmov (1834-1906)

Todor Burmov was the first Bulgarian Prime Minister – a Gabrovian, also known as a teacher, historian, journalist (he is also considered the first journalist of Gabrovo). He graduated from the Orthodox seminary in Kiev, and then returned to Bulgaria to work for the rise of Bulgarian school and culture. He later left for Constantinople. His newspapers played a large part in the struggle for church independence.

Raycho Karolev (1846 -1928)

Raycho Mihov Karolev was a Bulgarian enlightener, politician, historian and theologian. He was born in Gabrovo and was a longtime headmaster of some of the leading Bulgarian schools. He participated in several Parliaments as a representative of the Liberal Party and from 1884 to 1886 was the minister of national enlightenment.

From 1863 he studied in Kiev, where he graduated the seminary and the theological academy. He then became teacher and principal of the mutual school in Gabrovo. After the the April uprising in 1876, he was arrested for a short period of time. During the Provisional Russian Administration he was a school inspector, and from 1880 to 1884 he was the director of the Gabrovo High School. He was a member of the Bulgarian Literary Society since 1871.

Raycho Karolev was the minister of Public Education in the second government of Petko Karavelov (1884 – 1886) but after his overthrow he withdrew from political life . In the following years he was the director of First Sofia Male High School, the National Library “St. Cyril and Methodius” and the Directorate of Statistics, a teacher at First Sofia Girls’ High School, and a clerk at the Supreme Court of Audit.

Hristo Tsokev (1847-1883)

Hristo Tsokev was one of the first Bulgarian artists with academic education. His paintings are kept in various collections, including the National Gallery of Art and the Gabrovo Art Gallery, which bears his name. Initially Hristo Tzokev studied icon painting in Mount Athos, and later at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

Interesting facts: Participated actively in organizing the Stara Zagora Uprising (1875). After its suppression, he was invited to paint icons at St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Svishtov. He left with a relative of his, but while traveling they were attacked by two armed Turks and robbed. As they did not find any money in them, the Turks took the artist’s raincoat and boots. Deeply outraged by the experience, Hristo Tsokev remembered the image of one of the assailants and painted it. By this drawing, the two robbers were later discovered and captured.

The “Laying in the Grave” icon, which is in the middle of the iconostasis of the “Dormition of the Theotokos” church in Gabrovo, the icon” The Assumption of the Lord” in the church of the Sokolski monastery and “The Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Holy Apostles” in the Holy Trinity Church and others icons in Gabrovo were painted by Hristo Tzokev,

Dr. Tota Venkova (1855 – 1921)

Dr. Tota Venkova was one of the first doctors in Bulgaria. During the Russian-Turkish War she was a nurse at the military infirmary where she decided to dedicate her life to the sick and suffering people. She studied medicine in St. Petersburg and Vienna and was a specialist in internal and pediatric diseases as well as gynaecology, but due to health problems withdrew from state work in favor of private practice.

Her home in the center of Sofia became a free obstetric and gynaecological consultation, thus she continued helping the people until the end of her days, leaving all of her property to the people, namely: to a sanatorium for breastfeeding patients in Iskrets for treatment of tuberculosis, to the Gabrovo girls’ school and to the Sofia University.

She has been declared an honorary citizen of Gabrovo and the multi profile hospital for active treatment in the city bears her name.

Chardafon the Great (1859-1906)

The real name of Chardafon the Great is Prodan Tishkov – a Bulgarian volunteer, a participant in the Russian-Turkish war, a sergeant-major in the militia of East Rumelia. Active participant in the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. A Bulgarian officer, major.

His humorous nickname was modeled on the western nobles and the particle ” von ” in the names, especially as a joke with the director of the militia and the gendarmerie of East Rumelia, general August von Drigalski.

For him Zachary Stoyanov wrote a humorous narrative titled Chardafon the Great. Gabrovians put flowers on his monument every year in honor of the Unification.

Emanuil Manolov (1860-1912)

Emanuil Manolov is considered the founder of the Bulgarian professional composer’s work. He is the author of the first Bulgarian opera “Siromahkinya” and a total of 201 musical works, among which 19 works for wind orchestra, 7 works for a small symphony orchestra, 23 choir songs, 4 marches and others. One of the first Bulgarian composers to write songs for children.

The monument of Emmanuel Manolov in Gabrovo is in front of the House of Culture, which bears his name.

Sava Manolov (1866-1927)

In his obituary, the magazine “Maritime Agreement” wrоте: “He was the oldest captain and the first Bulgarian to be entrusted with the command of a ship.” Captain Sava Manolov was a Gabrovian who studied at the Marine School in Narva, Russia, and passed a long and difficult road to fulfilling his dream of being captain of an overseas ship. In 1904, he was appointed the captain of the ship “Sofia” – an old Turkish ship on which the hold was cemented! Foreign masters did not think he would return alive, but he refuted their words. He was the captain of the ships “Prince Boris”, “Bulgaria” and “Varna”.

Niko Hristov (Niko Hozhiev) (….. – 1918)

Although Niko Hristov had neither the financial possibilities nor the education of many of the famous gabrovians, he could safely be put together with them as the founder of the puppet theater in Bulgaria. A blacksmith by profession, in 1890 he left his craft and began to walk around the towns and villages of Gabrovo with his two puppets – Racho and Deshka – aas well as his musicsl instrument-tambura. He carried them in a trunk, moved them with the help of threads and sang and played different stories. Later he added the doll Mako. He made various hanky-panky and jokes.

The traditions of the puppet theater in Gabrovo have not been interrupted ever since, and the theater building opened in 1979 was the first one in Bulgaria, built specifically for a puppet theater.

Architect Nikola Grublev  (1891-1976 г.)

Architect Nikola Grublev was a Gabrovo architect. He studied in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, founded his own company “Architectural and Construction Bureau architect Nikola Grablev – Gabrovo “and designed a large number of residential, public and industrial buildings, many of which are preserved today. His buildings are the “Nikola Vassiliadi Professional Technical School”, the” Ship” – a now pulmonary hospital, the Pencho Semov villa, the “Maichina Grizha-mothercare” movie building-now “Mall Gabrovo”, residential buildings in the city center.

Alexander Kerkov (1901-1987)

Alexander Kerkov was one of the emblematic faces of Gabrovo – a composer, musician, musical pedagogue who devoted his whole life to the children, incredible “zevzek”. He is a volunteer in the music of the 1st Infantry Regiment, and then in the maestro Georgi Atanasov’s symphony orchestra. At his insistence he graduated the middle class of the Music Academy in 1925, where he studied Cello and tsug-trombone.

Alexander Kerkov left a rich musical heritage. He composed and arranged over 44 marches, 12 songs for children, 9 meddleys, 5 concert waltzes, round dances, rachenitsi, etc., which are stored in the gold fund of the musical treasury. Between the two world wars, Alexander Kerkov was a popular musician, plays jazz, participates in entertaining performances.

Konstantin Nikiforov Popkonstantinov (1931-1891)

Konstantin Nikiforov Popkonstantinov (1931-1891) was a Bulgarian artillery officer, a major, the first Bulgarian military minister (1885-1886). In 1879 he joined the Mihaylov Artillery Academy in St. Petersburg, which he graduated with honors in 1883.

Upon his return to Bulgaria he started working for the organization of the Bulgarian artillery as an assistant-head of the artillery and artillery teacher at the Military School. Captain Konstantin Nikiforov became the first Bulgarian – military minister (in the government of Petko Karavelov). He took up this office on September 9/21, 1885, after the Russian government opposed the Unification of Bulgaria and withdrew its officers from the country. He held the office until August 9, 1886.

Ivan Tsonev Rodev (1873-1934)

Ivan Tsonev Rodev (1873-1934) was the first Bulgarian engineer-shipbuilder. In 1892 he graduated from the Aprilov High School. He joined the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at Sofia University (today Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski). He continued his education at the Royal Academy of Maritime and Trade in Trieste (Austro-Hungary). In May 1896, when he practiced as a designer at the English shipyard, he made a theoretical drawing of a ship and using these drawings the Kaliakria steam boiler was later built in the Navy Fleet in Ruse in 1896-1988. The drawing of Ivan Rodev was the first theoretical drawing of a ship, prepared by a Bulgarian.

From the autumn of the same year until 1902 he studied at the Polytechnic of the Ministry of the French Navy and acquired the title “engineer-shipbuilder”. Engineer-Shipbuilder in the Navy 1903-1912, first principal of the port workshop which was opened in 1912 in Varna. Ivan Rodev left a lasting trace in the development of the Maritime School’s educational literature.

Vassil Karagyozov (1856 – 1938)

As a teacher at the Aprilov High Schoolhe continuously helped with his knowledge and contacts for the development of the first textile factory in Gabrovo, where he worked with Ivan Kalpazanov, whose son-in-law he was. Vice-consul at the open consulate of Germany in the city. After Kalpazanov’s death, Ivan Kalpazanov’s factory was managed by Vassil Karagyozov during the period from 1889 to 1907. In September 1908 he was invited by the Gabrovo factory owner Georgi Rasheev to lead his linen-textile factory. Karagyozov returned to the factory “Ivan K. Kalpazanov” as the director of the company, appointed by the management board on September 21, 1913. He retired from work on April 1, 1933 and resigned from the executive officer’s office. He finished his life in Mount Athos, as Schema-monk Benjamin, leaving as an inheritance to the monastery his huge library.

Ivan H. Berov (1858 – 1934)

One of the first builders of the Gabrovo industry. In 1906, he built the First Bulgarian Hydroelectric Power Plant for industrial purposes, the first one set up with private capital. It supplied electric power to the factory and the buildings around it, the central part of Gabrovo, residential homes. Initiator of the first ice rink, as well as the first tennis court in Gabrovo.

The Kalpazanovi Brothers

Ionko Kalpazanov studied his craft in Germany and appeared at the first exhibition in Plovdiv in 1892, where he won a Gold Medal for tanning. The brothers Hristo, Yonko and Totyu Kalpazanovi were the founders of one of the first modern leather factories, founded in 1894, originally produced oxhide and facial skins. The founders of the first shoe factory “Yantra’and a leather school, whose director was Yonko Kalpazanov.

Konkilevi Family

Hristo Kolchev Konkylev /born in 1848 / participated in the April uprising as the head of a squad in the detachment of Tsanko Dyustabanov. After the Liberation, he was repeatedly elected as a Member of Parliament and three times a mayor of Gabrovo. Along with his active public duty, he maintained and expanded his bayonet workshop. In 1901, together with his nephew Peter Konkilev and other industrialists founded the “Trinity” factory. Kolyo Konkilev laid the foundations of the pamphletry with the sale of silk braids and cords. The Kolyo and Tsonio brothers founded the “Hrikon” factory. Kolyo Konkilev bequeathed all his property to Gabrovo.

Maria Andreycheva

Maria Andreycheva – the only woman among the entrepreneurs in Gabrovo. She was born in a famous Gabrovo family and was the sister of the designer of the monument at Mt. Shipka architect Atanas Donkov and wife of the famous lawyer Dimitar Andreychev. The factory manufactured carpentry, textiles and buttons. Her’s was the “First Bulgarian Concession Factory for Bone Products”, which later started the factory “Captain Dyado Nikola” Ltd.

“Sokol” JSC was founded by Maria Andreycheva.

Pencho Semov (1873 – 1945)

Founder of the modern industry in Bulgaria, shareholder in 28 companies, including 22 industrial enterprises, 4 banks, 2 insurance companies. Participated in the financial-industrial group “Bulgarian Bank”, working with bulgarian capital and was against the export of capital abroad. Donated 300 000 golden leva for lobbying in favor of Bulgaria to reduce the claims against our country at the conclusion of the Neuilly Treaty. Generous in his charity, he made every effort for Gabrovo to become a modern and well developed city in each and every aspect.

Iliya Ilev (1875 – 1941)

Established the foundations of one of the biggest cotton-pulp enterprises in the city – “Badashnost” (1909). In 1924 he bought most of the shares and became the sole owner of the factory. Workers were up to 300 in number. The factory produced basic ladies’ and children’s wool and cotton clothes, as well as men’s woolen and cotton underwear. He created a fund to help poor students. Donated the painting of the “St. Ivan Rilski Church”in the village of Bichkinya/ currently a part of Gabrovo/.