At the center of the Valley of Roses is a small town by the name of Kazanlak. Following the annual rose petal harvest in May and June, a time when the entire valley is enveloped with the fragrance of roses, Kazanlak stages its well-known Rose Festival. The Rose Queen is crowned and people from all over the country parade in the streets in a colorful display of pageantry and culture.
During our stay in Bulgaria, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Kazanlak during its Rose Festival. Roses and the rose oil industry also play a role in Valley of Thracians. Enjoy photographs of Bulgarian roses and passages about roses from my suspense novel.
In central Bulgaria, lying between the Balkan Range and the Sredna Gora mountains is a long fertile plain known as the Valley of Roses. Due to the high quality of its roses, mastered over centuries of dedicated cultivation, Bulgaria is one of the world’s largest exporters of rose oil, used in the production of perfumes, beauty creams, chocolates, liquors, and jams. There is even toothpaste made from roses.
An enormous quantity of rosebuds is required to produce a minuscule amount of the valuable fluid. To extract one kilogram of this precious liquid, three thousand kilograms of rose petals are needed. Because of this, rose oil is three times more expensive than gold.
"They get up before dawn to pick the petals at exactly the right time. It’s quite a fascinating sight to see the moist flowers sparkling in the first rays of the rising sun. They need to be picked very early in the day because the oil evaporates in the sunlight. The bushes are head-high; you should see them! Young women pick the buds, drop them into these huge baskets, and then they’re carried away on donkey back to distilleries. It’s very picturesque, all that manual work, almost like a scene out of another century. And they have this festival every year to celebrate the harvest. It’s in the town we’re going to, Kazanlak.”
|The Rose Festival parade in Kazanlak|
|Rose Festival parade, Kazanlak, Bulgaria|
“Roses!” Scott sat up straight in his seat. The word conjured up more than he had imagined. It brought to mind a specific town in the center of the country, one to which he had traveled with Lance three years before. The festival, the girls, the beers, the costumes, the roses. There was a small café, where he sat with Lance enjoying the sounds and sights of the festivities. It was a small town, as quaint as any they had visited. The people were simple, the enjoyment complete. Lance remarked that they had come to one of his favorite places in all of Bulgaria.
|The Rose Queen|
If you're looking for a souvenir from Bulgaria, try one of the many rose oil products = soaps, perfumes and more.
|Rose oil products, Bulgaria|
There's nothing like a Bulgarian rose = beautiful, fragrant, and producing a very valuable oil prized all over the world.