Trbovlje is situated in a valley formed by the three hills Kum, Mrzlica and Javorje. Through the valley runs the river Trboveljscica. The town first emerged when several older agricultural settlements were combined forming bigger settlements. A small company began mining coal in the valley in 1804 and when the railway arrived 45 years later, a state mine was opened. Trbovlje became the centre for the coal-mining industry in the Zasavje region and the headquarters of the coal-mining society "Brown Coal Miners of Slovenia". Before the 2nd World War, the main part of the industry belonged to mining, cement-production and sawmills. After the war, however, the town was reconstructed. A lot of private companies came to Trbovlje and housing estates and roads were built. As a result, the town flourished and restaurants and shops appeared. Between 1909 and 1968, three thermoelectric power plants were built.
Nowadays, the town extends approximately 7km along the narrow valley and more than 330 companies and firms are located there. Among them one can find Radius (hi-performance alloy wheels), Peko (shoes), Ipoz (food cans) and Mehanika (electrical equipment). In 1995 the population was over 18,000. In the late 1980's the unemployment was negligible, but since then it has increased considerably. To tackle this negative unemployment trend, the muncipal council in Trbovlje has developt a plan which includes small buisiness, tourism and agriculture.