Rose Valley

The Rose Valley

The Rose Valley is a region in Bulgaria located just south of the Balkan Mountains and the eastern part of the lower Sredna Gora. The city of Kazanlak is the farthest in the region. It can be reached from Sofia Airport for about 2 hours and 45 minutes by car.

Rose Valley is famous for its rose-growing industry and it is one of the Bulgarian symbols. For centuries, Rosa damascena has been cultivated in this region. By the distillation of the roses, the Bulgarians extract the famous rose oil, used in pharmacy, perfumery and other industries. The valley itself has a specific climate with short mild winter and long hot spring. Without the necessary moisture and warmth, the roses cannot survive. That’s why almost all rose fields are situated there. To produce 1 kg of rose-oil you need about 3500 kg of rose-blossom. To form a rose bush and start picking the roses, you need about three years after planting it. The rose-picking starts very early in the morning and continues to noon. The blossom should be fresh and should not be completely blown. This is necessary for the protection of the aromatic rose scent and rose moisture.

The popular oil-bearing rose has become an integral part of the culture and the traditions in Bulgaria.

The centre of the rose oil industry is Kazanlak, while other towns of importance include Karlovo, Pavel banya and Kalofer. Each year, from May to the early days of June is held the Rose Festival in the cities of Karlovo, Kazanlak and Pavel Banya. One of the festival’s traditions is the rose picking early in the morning by people dressed in traditional costumes. Folk dancers, singers, and musicians perform in the rose fields. In a beauty contest, the Queen of the Rose is chosen among all girls graduating from high school that year.

The picking season also lasts from May to June. During this period, the area gives off a pleasant scent and is covered with multi-coloured flowers. The gathering process, traditionally a woman’s task, requires great dexterity and patience. The flowers are carefully cut one by one and laid in willow-baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. Tourists are welcome to join the rose-picking process, usually on weekend mornings when special ritual reenactments are organized in the villages around Karlovo, Kazanlak and Pavel Banya.

Many writers, artists and singers write, draw or sing about the Rose Valley and Rosa Damascena. That’s why the Rose Festival in Bulgaria is one of the most important festivals across the country.

The Rose Festival in Karlovo will take place on 30th May (Saturday) situated there. The Rose Festival in Kazanlak will last for 3 days from 5th June to 7th June. The culmination day will be 7th June (Sunday), when all visitors may enjoy the beautiful Carnival parade in the city centre.

Rose Valley via @spatoursbg
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