The town of Elena is located 40 km southeast from Veliko Tarnovo. The distance to Sofia is 280 km. During the centuries of the Ottoman rule the Turks used the town's population to guard the local mountain passes, giving them a measure of autonomy in return, so painters and woodcarvers of 19th century Elena were able to decorate the churches of the surrounding countryside, and patriotic local merchants could finance the restoration of nearby monasteries like Kapinovo.
The town of Elena (7421 inhabitants, 300 m above the sea level) is located in the Central Balkan Mountain. The town lies in the lovely valley of Elena River. Nature has been pretty benevolent in this region. A great number of small rivers and several deep and scenic gorges run across the Elena hollow. The hills are overgrown with deciduous trees. The Balkan woods are inhabited by wildboars, wolves and foxes, hares and does. One can find mountain barbell and chub in the clean water of the small rivers.