The Bulgarian oil yielding rose is a symbol of Bulgaria. It embodies the freshness of nature, the aesthetics of Bulgarian culture and the pursuit of beauty and happiness. Rose is grown for rose oil production and for other derivative products used in the perfume industry. Bulgarian rose oil is of superior quality that is unrivaled in the world. It is a material, preferred by many reputable perfumery manufacturers. Its secret lies in the technology of extraction – by triple distillation and intermediate cooling. The evergreen gardens of South China are considered home for the oil-yielding rose.
Later the plant spread over other Asian regions – India, Persia, Syria and Afghanistan. The oil-yielding rose was brought to Bulgaria by the Ottoman Turks, who used rose oil in some of the Muslim rituals. The strongest tradition in rose production is near the towns of Karlovo and Kazanluk.
Not surprisingly, this region is called the Valley of Roses. Rose growing was the main livelihood of the local population. The Rose Institute and the only in the world museum of roses, where you can learn about the history of the plant and about rose production in Bulgaria, are located in Kazanlak. Rose harvest in Kazanlak and Karlovo is held in late May and is associated with joy, feasts and songs. Oil-yielding rose is picked early in the morning, when the leaves of the plant are covered with drops of dew. It is these drops, where the rose oil is stored, and they are the key to high quality rose products. The Festival of Roses in Kazanlak, which takes place in the days of rose-picking, is one of the most joyful and beautiful festivals in the country. Many guests from Bulgaria and abroad gather in the town and witness a pageant of roses, songs and beautiful rituals.
Early in the morning is the festive rose picking, when beautiful girls, dressed in festive Bulgarian costumes, collect the rose blossoms and adorn with them for health and beauty. After that follows the choosing of a Rose Queen – the most beautiful girl, who participated in the ritual. Celebrations continue with a folklore procession and tasting of rose foods and beverages in the ethnographic complex of Kazanlak. Here you can taste rose jam, rose brandy or fragrant rose liqueur.