The town of Etropole (545 m above sea level) is situated in the picturesque valley of the Malki Iskar River, hidden as a pearl in the northern slopes of Stara Planina Mountain, at the foothills of Mount Baba /1787 m/. It is located at 80 km northeast of Sofia. Hemus Motorway passes over a territory of about 15 km across Etropole municipality. The municipality consists of one municipal centre – the town of Etropole, and 9 villages: Lopyan, Yamna, Ribaritsa, Boykovets, Brusen, Laga, Malki Iskar, Oselna and Gorunaka.

Etropole was founded as a Thracian settlement during the 6th - 7th century BC.

Visitors’ interest is aroused by the 2,500-year history of the town. Etropole played a prominent role in the the Bulgarian liberation movement during the Bulgarian National Revival. People from Etropole participated in the revolutionary detachments of Hristo Botev, Hadzhi Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha, Panayot Hitov and Rakovski’s Legion. The founding of the revolutionary committee in Etropole in the autumn of 1870 is connected with the activity of Bulgaria’s national hero and organizer of the anti-Ottoman movement Vasil Levski. The chairman of the committee was Todor Peev – a revolutionary, a teacher, a writer, and a close associate of Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev.

A significant place in the history of Etropole occupies the participation of its residents in the Russo - Turkish War. On 24.11.1877, the advanced detachment of the legendary General Gurko under the command of General Dandevil freed Etropole. General Gurko’s headquarters were located in the house of a local rich man - Pavel Panchov. Great and unique was the heroism of the Russian soldiers and the population of Etropole who crossed the mountain in the severe winter in December 1877 for the liberation of Sofia and South Bulgaria.

The people of Etropole actively participated in the Serbian – Bulgarian War, the Balkan War, World War I and World War II.

Today Etropole is an attractive destination for historical, cultural and religious tourism.

Some of the most-visited tourist attractions in the municipality are: the Clock Tower – a symbol of the town (built in 1710 and one of the oldest in Bulgaria), the Museum of History (open to visitors on 7.12.1958, housed in the building of the former Turkish Police Office called Konak) and the Holy Trinity Monastery (founded in 1158, it became a significant cultural-educational centre). These popular landmarks are included in the national campaign "100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria" under No. 63. Visitors are also interested in the well-preserved houses from the Bulgarian National Revival Period: the Arnaudov’s House (on the first floor is located the Cultural Figures' Club and the ethnographic exposition of the History Museum is housed on the second floor) and the Pavelpanchova House that was used as General Gurko’s headquarters in 1877. Other places of interest in the town of Etropole are the five churches arranged in the form of a cross - St. Archangel Michael Church, St. George Church, St. Elijah Church, St. Paraskeva Church and St. Nicholas Church. Etropole also attracts tourists with its natural beauty spots, e.g. Varovitets Waterfall, Vranyata Voda Waterfall, the rock massif “Kuklite”, the Eagles’ Stone – the Red Wall (a rock formation inhabited by rare and endangered birds of prey), Chertigrad (remnants of a Thracian fortress and a cultural heritage monument of national importance).

Some crafts, specific to Etropole municipality, have been preserved over the centuries until today like wheelwrighting, ironsmithery, knife-grinding, wood carving, weaving, farriery, leather manufacture, corn milling, etc.

The unique holidays that are celebrated in Etropole are St. Athanasius (in January), the Etropole Sons-in-law Feast (in June) and St. Peter’s Day – the Day of Etropole (27-29 June).

St. Athanasius is a unique Thracian holiday associated with welcoming of the god Sabazios, waving goodbye to the winter and meeting the spring, and chasing away evil spirits. This holiday is celebrated every year in Etropole on the last Sunday of January. On the eve of the holiday, tourists from all over Bulgaria gather and climb up Mount St. Athanasius. People light fires, heat “rakia”, dance Bulgarian folk dances, and adorn themselves with ivy and snowdrops as a symbol of the upcoming spring.

The Etropole Sons-in-law Feast is a unique festival which has been celebrated until today. For the first time in 1971, sonsin-law who had come from all over the country to live in Etropole gathered in the town centre to have fun, and so started this feast full of live and genuine humour and hot wit.. For many long years, an honorary chairman of the festival was the great Bulgarian actor and son-in-law Grigor Vachkov.

The town of Etropole offers an opportunity for tourists to undertake an unforgettable journey to the infinite beauty and soft greenery of nature, to relax and enjoy peace and quiet, to be enchanted by the grandeur of Etropole Mountain and to embark upon the challenges and adventures of mountain hiking, ecotourism, culture tourism, hunting, horse riding and rural tourism.

Source: The History Museum of Etropole