The Rose Valley
Lets discover the secret of this magical area with 36 thousand hectares of rose plantations. The Rose Valley is a region in Bulgaria located between Balkan Mountains and Sredna Gora Mountain. Geologically, it consists of two river valleys, those of the Stryama to the west and the Tundzha to the east.
The Rose Valley of Kazanlak and Kalofer stretches for around 3500 square kilometres equal to approximately 500.000 football pitches or 8% of the territory of The Netherlands. Kazanlak is considered the capital of the Rose Valley.
Every year around 6000 tons of rose petals are harvested and up to 2 tons of fragrant oil is extracted from that, which amounts to approximate 80% of the total rose oil in the world.
For the production of one kilogram of oil, it is needed around 5 tonnes of flowers. Price per kilogram can vary from 10000$-20000$, depending on the season.
The collection season lasts from late April to early July. During this period, the area gives off a pleasant air scent and is covered with multi-coloured flowers. The gathering process 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.
Each year, festivals are held celebrating the rose. Tourists are welcome to join the rose-picking process, usually on weekend mornings when special ritual reenactments are organized in villages around Kazanlak.
The Rose Festival in Kazanlak is dating since 1903, and it is dedicated to celebrating the beauty of the flowers and local women. The beauty contest “Queen of Roses” is one of the most awaited events in the city, and attracts visitors and tourists from each continent. The winner becomes Rose ambassador and represents the Valley and its beauty around the world.
Highly valued and sought-after, the unique Bulgarian rose oil is a key ingredient of the products of many perfumery giants, such as Kenzo, Chanel and Dior.
The rose petals of the most popular sort Rosa Damascena are also used in many food industries. The fine petals are mainly used for rose tea.
In September 2014 the European Commission approved Bulgarian rose oil as a new Protected Geographical Indication of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs. The name “Bulgarian rose oil” itself has been patent-protected since then.