The Rose Valley
The Rose Valley is located about 60 km north of Plovdiv, between Sredna Gora (Middle Forest Mountain) and Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) - from Kazanlak to Klisura. The valley is known for growing roses for industrial use and is one of the symbols of Bulgaria. From their blossoms is produced the famous rose oil - the main ingredient in the world of fragrances and cosmetic industry. Every year in Karlovo and Kazanlak in the first weekend of June is held the Rose Festival.
The Rose Valley is a region in Bulgaria located just south of the Balkan Mountains, between them and the eastern part of the lower Sredna Gora chain to the south. Geologically, it consists of two river valleys, those of the Stryama to the west and the Tundzha to the east.
The valley is famous for its rose growing industry and it is one of the Bulgarian symbols. The rose Rosa damascene has been cultivated here for centuries, from which by distillation and other processes is obtained rose oil, which is widely used in pharmacy, perfumery and others. The valley itself has specific climate with short mild winter and long hot spring. Roses need moisture and warmth and this is why almost all fields of rose oil are located there.
About three centuries ago the Oil rose Damascene was brought from the Middle East. Since the XVII century Bulgaria has established itself as one of the major producers of oil rose. Today it yields near 1 tone of rose oil a year – 70% of the world’s rose oil is produced in Bulgaria, making the country the largest producer of rose oil.. For the production of 1 kg rose-water is used 1 kg of rose blossom, for the production of 1 kg rose-oil is used approximately 3500 kg of rose-blossom. To form a rose bush and start picking are required three years after planting it. Roses are picked manually and the picking starts very early in the morning and continues at noon. The blossom should be fresh and should not be completely blown. This is necessary for maximum protection of the aromatic rose scent and rose moisture. The extracts are used by perfumeries all over the world.
In 1969 was opened the first exposition 'Kazanluk rose' in the Institute of Roses. A separate department is opened to Iskra museum. This is the only museum by its kind in Bulgaria that shows the development of the traditional and contemporary rose industry in Bulgaria from its beginning to nowadays. In the attractive historical-ethnographic Kulata museum /town of Kazanluk/ the tourists can watch the primitive rose boiling and can try the products of the oil-bearing rose - jam and liqueur. There are more than 10 000 rose sorts, but only 200 of them are oil-bearing.
Bulgaria is famous with its beautiful nature and unique traditions. The popular oil-bearing rose has become an inseperable part of the history and culture of Bulgaria.
Many writers, artists and singers write, draw or sing about it. As a significant symbol of the country the rose has its own celebration - The Festival of the rose which takes place every year in June.