The Valley of Roses
To visit Bulgaria and not go to the Valley of Roses is to go to Egypt and not see the pyramids. The Valley of Roses is in the very heart of the country and is shielded by the high slopes of two majestic mountain ranges - the Balkan and Sredna Gora.
The rose, the queen of flowers, has been focusing the attention of people since the remote past as a symbol of beauty and youth. It was the Phoenicians who organized first the feast of the blessed flower. Cleopatra chose the rose for her palaces; her bathroom and numerous cosmetic substances all had a rose smell. The ancient Greeks decorated their temples with roses. Homer described rose oil in the "Iliad" and in the "Odyssey". In his "Natural History" Pliny mentions the rose that was grown in Thrace.
The rose - a symbol of perfect love
The Romans lavishly spent on rose fragrances; they adorned the feast tables with roses and Nero "invented" the rose rain. Christianity
reinterpreted the symbol of fleeting pleasure as the symbol of perfect love and adorned the most virtuous maids with roses.
The rose - a kind of Bulgarian currency
The emergence of the perfume industry in France in the 17th century triggered off the rapid development of rose production, including the Bulgarian lands. Rose oil that was extracted, as in ancient times by the distillation of fresh rose petals, which were treated with water steam became a kind of Bulgarian currency.
The attar of roses
For centuries Bulgarians have planted roses, picked their flowers and extracted their heavenly essence – attar of roses. The rose, this marvellous gift of the land, is admired and used in perfumery, pharmacy and food industry.
The Festival of Roses
The Rose Valley is magically transformed with breath-taking blooms in May and early June each year when The Festival of Roses is celebrated in many towns of the region. Rose picking rituals and folklore displays are presented.
The festival program includes the coronation of Queen Rose (a beauty contest in several rounds), the traditional rose-picking ritual and rose-distillation that gives you a true feeling of authenticity.
The Festival ends with a street procession in which the main role is allotted for the participants of the International Folklore Festival that has been hold parallel to the Festival of Roses for some years.
Other places of interest in/near Kazanlak