One Bulgarian Rose

Novinite Insider » DESTINATIONS | April 6, 2007, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: One Bulgarian Rose Folklore dancers perform traditional dance in a rose field at the Rose Festival in Kazanlak. Photo by

Can you imagine living in a world where the crystal clear air smells like roses? Can you imagine getting up on a sunny morning and the first thing you see are fields of roses? Can you imagine your whole world being rose scent, romance and ancient secrets? For some people this is the real world and Kazanlak is its name.

By Lora Petrova

The town of Kazanlak is indeed the town of roses and is best known as the Rose Valley. The region around Kazanlak has been inhabited for thousands of years, with traces of civilization going as far back as the 2000 BC.

In the 4th century BC, near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis and close to the city, the Thracian Tomb was built. Consisting of a vaulted brickwork "beehive" tomb, it contains, among others, painted murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The whole area around the city is known as the Valley of Thracian Kings.

This tiny in universe's eyes place was maybe blessed by the ancient gods as it is now the biggest producer of rose oil in the world. The production of rose oil from Kazanlak covers 70% of world's production. The reason for this is hidden in the high qualities of the Bulgarian Kazanluk rose, a special type, that was cultivated in our country after many years of production and development. The Bulgarian roses are inheritors of the so-called Damascena rose, that was brought here ages ago. The rose oil is called "the liquid gold" of Bulgaria, because it is a very expensive product, used mainly for the making of perfumes, chocolates, liqueur and jam.

The rose oil is three times more expensive than the real gold. One kilogram rose oil can be extracted from 3000 kg of roses. This means, that for one gramme of rose oil are used more than 1300 rose blossoms. Every flower is picked by hands and preserved carefully for the distillation. More than 2000 people are occupied in the harvest every year. The period of the harvest lasts only 20-25 days. No other cultivation method has been able to preserve the character of the rose almost unchanged for over three centuries.

Once a year in the mid-summer thousands of Bulgarians are woken up by the luring sweet scent of the roses and head to Kazanlak to celebrate the annual Rose Fest to celebrate the most beautiful gift of the Thracian gods to Bulgaria's people - the rose.

It is no accident that one of the most popular Bulgarian songs of all times is called "One Bulgarian Rose". So if you come to Bulgaria in summer, you will for sure feel your head light and your sense enchanted by the scent, which will lead you to the right place.

And when you start your journey back there will be for sure at least one person, who will give you a rose and sing you the song's lyrics "In this wonderful day take this one Bulgarian rose from me. Let it remind you with its fragrant voice of the mountains, of the sea and of all of us".
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