Čabar is the cultural and administrative centre of Gorski kotar. It was mentioned for the first time in 1642 in the "Grobnik Terrier", where it is written: "...that the Grobnik servants have obligation to drive the horse caravan from Grobnik to Čabar". This means that Čabar was a serf settlement which belonged to the town of Grobnik, the estate of Vinodol. Čabar was established by Croatian Ban Petar Zrinski. The town's centre is dominated by his castle (manor), which is preserved with some changes and refurbishment during its history. Above the main square dominates the baroque church of St. Anton of Padua from 17th century and the Way of the Cross. On the church altar is a painting of the famous Slovenian painter Valentin Metzinger from 18th century. Behind the church are a park and the refurbished chapel of the Way of the Cross with the paintings of Andrija Zabišnik. In the time of Petar Zrinski, in 1651, the first iron forge and smithy was established in Čabar. This was the beginning of industry in this region.
The chronicle writer Garibaldi from Idria (Slovenia) noted that Zrinski made cast cannons, bombs and cannon balls. He also wrote that the name of the place comes from the Illyrian word ziaber which means cleared land (in the local dialect Čeber) although it would be possible that the name comes from the configuration of the terrain which is like a barrel (Croatian čabar). After the death of Zrinski and the confiscation of his property, in 1671, there remained only the family's castle in Čabar, of which today there is only an angle tower. Čabar had 70 houses in that period whilst other settlements did not yet existing in documents (except Gerovo and Prezid which were mentioned even earlier than Čabar but in different documents). In 1685 Čabar and its surroundings belonged to government and were then leased to Baron Franjo Rigoni who built a new cast metal foundry and by 1692 the Hungarian Chamber sold this confiscated property to the Austrian Chamber which was very interested in metal production and increased the production of iron in Čabar. But, in 1711 a great storm flooded Čabar and the foundry and the production of iron stopped. It was restarted in 1718. The lack of good iron ore (which had to be imported) and the competition from foundries in Carniola and Carinthiahalted the production of the Čabar foundry. In 1798 King Franz II gave Matija Josip Paravić the Čabar manor as a gift for his successful fight against the Ottomans. Paravić put a lot of effort into recovering the economy of Čabar. After his death in 1866 his widow inherited the manor. After her, the Hungarian Count Nikola Ghyczy became owner of the Čabar manor. The manor stayed in his family until expropriation after WWII. The closing down of the foundry in Čabar did not mean the total death of this kind of activity. From 1890 to WWII in mines near to Tršće the mercury ore - cinnabar was excavated but this activity stopped because of the exhausted mine. After that the region started to regress and emigration started, which is present even to this day. The emigration was caused by more reasons. The economy was directed in one way only towards metal production. The region is not on any important roads. Even natural catastrophes caused decline in economic production. These reasons were connected to the general economy crisis at the end of 19th century together with the decline in forestry and timber production.