Did you know that:
- One of the world's most beautiful rose oil today comes from Bulgaria.
- One of the highest per cent of the world's attar of roses is obtained in the Valley of Roses.
- 3,5 tons of rose petals go into the making of one kilogram of rose oil, which has the price of gold.
- The Bulgarian “attar” of roses is an important component in the perfumery business throughout the world.
- Bulgarian rose oil is used in space industry, as a greasing component in space equipment, due to its resistance to any temperature changes.
About Rose Festival
Rosa Damascena is the name of the oil-yielding rose, which made Bulgaria famous for production of the best rose oil in the world. “Born” in Syria, Damascus, Rosa Damascena mill was brought to Bulgarian lands during the 17the century –Bulgaria then was part of the Ottoman Empire. This full of aroma rose found a second home in Bulgaria. It gave its name to a whole region – The Rose valley of Bulgaria. Extending more than 130 km along the Balkan mountain range, the Rose valley is surrounded by two mountains, which stop the cold winds in the wintertime and help create a specific climate. The combination of several factors makes this region a unique place for growing this sort of rose. The oil extracted from it is the best quality in the world. So the Valley of Roses became a centre of rose oil production and export for centuries. The Rose Valley includes Karlovo and Kazanlak fields, as well as some parts of the Nova Zagora fields. The Total area is about 3,300 square kilometers.
The rose bushes flower for about 25 days a year from mid-May to mid-June. The blooms are picked by hand early in the morning when the aroma is strongest, and transported in small quantities to the distillery. Seedlings come from the Rose Research Institute at Kazanluk, which has developed several Damascena rose varieties suited to conditions in the valley. International buyers pay for the Bulgarian product prices reaching Euro 4,000 a kilo.
Every year, during the first weekend of June, local community in Kazanlak organizes the annual Rose Festival. The first festival took place 108 years ago, in 1903. Celebrations were held annually, at the beginning of the rose- harvesting period. Karlovo and Pavel Banya- also known for their rose production, started organizing local rose festivals, too. Manufacturers from the whole valley gather dressed up in rose flowers. Mummers, called “koukeri” take part in the street parade. People sing and dance in the streets during the whole fest.
Three main events are worth a visit – early morning harvesting ritual in the rose fields, the electing of Queen Rose and the parade along the streets of each town. The processions and the celebrations last for two days. The climax of the festival in on Sunday when Queen Rose is being elected and festival parade takes place along the main streets of each village. There are other interesting events, taking place during the festival weekend – choir a cappella and folklore concerts, art shows, exhibitions, wine-tasting, gourmet-shows, etc. The Rose Festival and the fame of the Bulgarian oil-yielding rose attract numerous visitors from all parts of the world, the most numerous are visitors from Japan, Taiwan and France.
2018 Rose Festival Tour
Itinerary - Rose Festival Tour 31.05.2018 - 04.06.2018
5 day/4 night tour: Join a small group
31.05.2018 /1 day: Sofia
Our guide will meet you at the Sofia airport and assist for a transfer to hotel. Check in. After a short break for refreshment, a short familiarization with the city and hotel vicinity will follow. Evening at leisure, to overcome the jet lag.
Accommodation in Sofia at Hotel Niky, 3* or similar as centrally located
01 June 2018/2 day: Sofia - Rila monastery – Sofia
After breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sofia, a city with 7000-year long history, including a visit to the impressive Alexander Nevski memorial Cathedral. Tour proceeds with panoramic sightseeing of the University, the National Assembly, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Rotunda of St. George, Roman ruins, National Palace of Culture. Drive to Rila Monastery - the largest in the Balkans, included in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. It will captivate you with its unrivalled architecture and murals. Enjoy a tour of the monastery, including the 14th century Hrelyo Tower, the five-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the original monastery kitchen from the 19th century. Late afternoon drive back to Sofia.
Accommodation in Sofia at Hotel Niky, or similar as centrally located
02 June 2018/3 day: Sofia - Kalofer - Karlovo - Kazanlak - Stara Zagora
Following breakfast, you will drive east, to the Rose Valley. The Rose Valley includes Karlovo and Kazanlak fields, as well as some parts of the Nova Zagora fields. The Total area is about 3,300 square kilometers.
Drive via Karlovo to the village of Tarnicheni, close to Kalofer. Visit the local distillery and attend a lecture on rose water and rose oil distillation. Meet the local producers and taste the aroma of natural oils, produced here: rose oil, lavender oil, etc.
Drive to Kazanlak and visit the Rose museum. This small museum will tell you the story of rose production and the industry standards, set by the Bulgarian producers centuries ago.
Dinner and overnight in Stara Zagora, located only 30 min drive from Kazanlak.
B,D, Accommodation in Stara Zagora at the 2* hotel La Roca, or similar.
03 June 2018/ 4 day: Kazanlak - THE ROSE FESTIVAL IN KAZANLAK - Plovdiv
Early morning: Visit the rose fields - you will participate in a rose picking in the rose fields of Kazanlak. Proceed to the village of Skobelevo and visit the Ethnographic complex “Damascena ”with its rose gardens and distillery. At noon proceed to Kazanlak to attend the street parade in Kazanlak, before driving to the Picnic place in an open-air restaurant with music, folklore dance show and wine.
Late afternoon departure to Plovdiv (1,5 hrs. drive). Bulgaria’s second ranking town, Plovdiv, is a worthy rival to Sofia. Its location astride the river Maritsa, and its six hills, which are prominent features on the Thracian plane, indicates the strategic significance of the city. It is one of the oldest and most colourful towns in Bulgaria. No one can tell exactly when the foundation stone was laid here, although it must have been over 5000 years ago. Old Plovdiv on Trimontium hill is the centre of Bulgarian national revival architecture at its height.
B,L, Accommodation in Plovdiv at a 3* hotel Dafi, or similar.
04 June 2018/ 5 day: Plovdiv - Sofia Airport
Following breakfast, you will enjoy a morning sightseeing tour, including a visit to the Old Town, the 2000yrs old Roman Theatre; the Byzantine and mediaeval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town. In the afternoon - departure to Sofia, a 2-hrs drop-off transfer to Sofia airport. End of services.