The town of Tryavna (population 12 000 inhabitants) is located in the northern folds of the picturesque Stara Planina Mountain in the valley of Trevnenska River, 440 meters above the sea level. The town lies 245 km from both Sofia and Varna, 170 km from Plovdiv, 219 km from Bourgas, and 130 km from Ruse. Tryavna is an administrative centre. Mountain air, evergreen forests, crystal waters, and the beauty of the Bulgarian National Revival houses – all these attract to Tryavna. It still carries the spirit of its ancestors – famous masons, craftsmen and icon makers.
Traces of the Thracian and Roman ages can be found in the historical and cultural layers on which the town sprang up. Major roads cut through Tryavna Pass to connect Moesia and Thrace. But according to the legend the settlement originated during the 12th century during the reign of the Assen brothers. The earliest document to certify the existence of Tryavna dates back to 1565. During the Ottoman Rule Tryavna was a privileged settlement, whose inhabitants guarded the way through the Balkan to Edirne and Istanbul. Land was both scarce and barren, and this happened to be the main precondition for the rapid development of crafts. The settlement reached a particular fluorescence at the end of the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th century.
It was the arts and crafts of building, trade, wood-carving and icon painting that brought about the unfading glory of Tryavna and turned into a two-century major livelihood for the local population. It is not an accident that the well-known Tryavna Art School was established there. It is the oldest one in Bulgaria. The names of the master builders Usta Dimitar, Usta Gencho, of the wood-carvers Dimitar Oshanetsa, Papa Vitan, and of the icon-painters Zaharievski, Minevski, Minchevski, Vitanovski, Venkovski, and Kanchevski brought the fame of the Tryavna Art School not only in Bulgaria, but also in Wallachia, Serbia, Turkey, and Persia. The town is the birthplace of Levski’s associate Angel Kanchev, and of the eminent Bulgarian poet Pencho Slaveykov. The first in the country children’s sanatorium for chest diseases was built up here with the donation of Tzaritza (the Queen) Giovanna.
The old part of Tryavna was proclaimed an architectural reserve with about 140 monuments of the National Revival architecture. Tryavna has preserved the only National Revival set-piece square named after Captain Dyado Nikola. The Clock Tower erected in 1844 along with the Arch Bridge built in 1845 by Dimitar Sergyov have become symbols of the town. The oldest building on the square is the church St. Archangel Michael being a national monument of culture from the mediaeval period.
Tryavna School, built in 1839, ranked among the first secular schools in Bulgaria. Raykova House is a typical example of late National Revival architecture in Tryavna. Daskalovata House is museum of woodcarving and is an architectural monument. On the same street is the House of Petko and Pencho Slaveykovi. Kalinchevata House is another masterpiece of National Revival architecture in Tryavna. The Museum of icon-painting is in the Tsar’s chapel and treasures over 160 icons by old master icon painters. Part of the National Revival set-piece by the central bridge is the House of Angel Kanchev. In close proximity is the oldest architectural monument in Tryavna - Pop (priest) Angel's House. The church St. George was constructed and designed by the master-builder Dimitar Sergyov between 1848-1852. Interesting are also Dyadodobrev’s House and the House of Ivan Popdimitrov.
There are regular bus lines to Gabrovo, Dryanovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Plachkovtsi and other smaller settlements in the region.
The town of Plachkovtsi is situated at the distance of 7 km to the south of Tryavna. The architectural reserve of Bojentsi is 28 km west of Tryavna along the road through Dryanovo. About 18 km north-west are located the cave Bacho Kiro and Dryanovo Monastery. The spa resort Voneshta Voda is 15 km east from Tryavna.