Central Bulgaria has the largest rose plantations in the world
Along the road that connects the cities of central Bulgaria (Kazanlak, Shipka, Karlovo, Kalofer) are large billboards with the message “Welcome to the Valley of Roses”. Roses are all around and an unusual monument to a woman picking roses in a rose field (Bulgarian “ružoberačka”). The vast plain is surrounded on the north by the Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) and the eternally snowy peak of Bogev and the wide Srednja Gora to the south. The Balkan Mountains are a natural dam of winds from the Danube River and the Carpathian mountain range, while the lower Srednja Gora releases a pleasant Mediterranean climate, creating a warm oasis (suitable for growing various plants, flowers and plants). This is favored by porous sandy soil. The famous “Valley of Roses” is located in this natural and climatic environment. It is the largest Bulgarian and world region for growing this attractive plant.
Many verses, poems and stories have been written about the rose and the beautiful rose flower. However, for more than a century (traces go back up to 300 years) this plant is a fragrant ornament, gift and poetic metaphor in Bigarska. In this area, the rose is an agricultural product that is planted, grown, maintained and harvested. A valuable ingredient in rose is rose oil (an extract used in the cosmetics industry around the world). About 70% of the amount of rose oil comes from Bulgaria, whose land is ideal for growing roses.
There are about 1000 types of roses in the world of different shapes, colors and sizes. A few hundred have a desirable long-lasting aroma.
Farmers in Bulgaria divide roses into white and pink with the lesson that pink is softer but has a lasting and richer scent. The rose harvest in Bulgaria is the final and concluding act of this story about Bulgarian roses. The harvest begins in mid-May or early June with a traditional rose festival. The whole event is marked by roses and the scent of roses (decorated pickers, song, game, folk festivities, carnival procession through the streets of Kazanlak).
The event of the year in the Rose Valley is becoming an out-of-regional event in the media. Pickers enter the scene when the tambourines, flutes and bagpipes fall silent. Roses are picked at dawn. The flower used to be collected in willow wicker baskets and today it is collected in bags and plastic bags. Pickers wear gloves that protect their hands from thorns. The harvest lasts about a month. Harvesting is not an easy job. It takes time, skill to harvest a kilo of roses.
Four tons of petals are needed for 1 liter of rose oil
One liter of ugly oil costs about 4000 Euros. In Bulgaria, about 100,000 hectares are planted with roses, now owned by old and new farmers (once owned by the state). From these plantations, 400 to 600 liters of rose oil are harvested and processed annually. Areas have been declining in recent years. The reasons are numerous (lack of labor, even seasonal), the difficulty of work and more lucrative investment in other productions). The life of one plant is from 10 to 12 years when the old plantations are replaced with new ones. Yields of new plantings need to wait.
When the morning harvest is over, they immediately send the eubran quantities to a complex processing process to preserve the main ingredient (smell). In the past, the distillation process took place in 2 phases in cauldrons (similar to cauldrons for roasting brandy). First, rose water was obtained, and after repeated distillation, rose oil was obtained from the surface of special vessels. Today, this process is performed on the same principle, but more efficiently and faster in “rose breweries” (distilleries), and the cauldrons are placed in museums and exhibitions as valuable exhibits.
The Rose Museum in Bulgaria is a unique place in the world.
Numerous photographs and exhibits testify to the way this plant was grown from ancient times to the present day. A variety of rose products are offered in the museum lobby. These various rose products can be found in many stores throughout Bulgaria. The museum is part of a significant state institution-the Institute of Roses and Essential Oils founded in 1907. The museum has been moved to a new building while the old building houses museum exhibits. In addition to the rose, there are crops of lavender and other medicinal plants in Bulgaria, although the rose has long become a Bulgarian national symbol. The rose is a symbol of Bulgaria, which is called the “state of roses” in all advertising and tourist videos, press and brochures.
end note: Back in 1992, Bulgaria was the first country to recognize a sovereign and independent Bosnia and Herzegovina.