The Rose oil festival at Kazanlak is one of the most remarkable events in Bulgaria. It has become an annual attraction of international importance since its first ever festival in 1903 and now brings thousands of visitors from all over the World every year to the area.
The buzz of the carnival atmosphere within the town of Kazanlak is amazing. There are many craft stalls, souvenir stands, art exhibitions, gourmet cooking and lets not forget the wine tasting. Lots more to enjoy for all ages.
Queen of the Roses Procession
The rose harvesting goes on for weeks but the main rose oil festival celebrations are for three days. Friday Saturday and Sunday nearest to beginning of June where singing and dancing can be heard and seen everywhere from the many choirs and folklore groups from Bulgaria and other Balkan countries.
The festival climax is on the Sunday which sees the crowning of the ‘Queen of the Roses’ and the wonderful and colourful rose oil festival procession. Over 3000 people take part in the procession and is reputed to be the largest parade in Bulgaria!
Rose Oil Festival 2019
FRIDAY 31ST MAY SATURDAY 1ST JUNE SUNDAY 2RD JUNE
Rose Oil Festival Tour from Sofia
from £52pp !
Join the most popular and visited festival in Bulgaria. Well-known for its production of rose oil essence, the Thracian valley hosts people from all over the world to celebrate the rose petals picking every late May and early June. Check out the itenary.
Apart from all the various stalls and singing and dancing. There are several museums in Kazanlak. Don’t miss the museum of roses which tells the story of the rose oil industry in Bulgaria. The Tombs of the Thracian Kings if time and take a trip to the Rose fields where traditional costume is worn and you can join in the folk singing and dancing as well as pick roses for the ‘kazan.’ Watch the ladies as they demonstrate craft skills. Oh! and take lots of photos!
The rose oil festival is free to watch. If you wish to be seated for the Sunday parade however, you must purchase a ticket.
If you wish to enter into the rose picking fields, there will be someone at the edge of the field selling tickets for about 8 euros depending on which field you visit.
All information can be found in the Kazanlak information office in the town square
One of the best ways to enjoy the Rose oil festival is to take a guided tour. They pack a lot into a day so you will often see more than the carnival.
Gathering of the Roses
Almost 2000 people are employed during the traditional gathering, and each rose has to be carefully cut by hand, one by one and laid in willow-baskets, which are then sent to the distilleries for oil the oil to be extracted.
The cutting is done between 5 am and 10 am every morning when the yield of the oil is at its highest and the dew is said to be ‘sparkling on the flowers’
The Valley of the Roses
The Rose oil valley includes Karlovo and Kazanlak fields, as well as some parts of the Nova Zagora fields. The Total area is about 3,300 square kilometres and is situated between two mountain ranges the Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountains. These ranges help stop the cold winds during winter time and give this area its specific climate. Ideal for the growth of these special Roses.
Bulgarian rose oil is used in the space industry, as a greasing component in space equipment, due to its resistance to any temperature changes.
3,5 tons of rose petals go into the making of one kilogram of rose oil
Rose Oil for Fragrance
Rose oil is an indispensable ingredient in virtually all fine perfumes made famous by producers like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel and Bulgari.
For centuries, the Damascus rose (Rosa damascena) has been considered a symbol of beauty and love.
The fragrance of the rose has been captured and preserved in the form of rose water by a method that can be traced back to ancient times in the Middle East, and later to the Indian subcontinent. A Persian scientist, Avicenna, is credited with the invention of the process for extracting rose water from rose petals in the early 11th century
Rose Oil products from amazon
Origins of the Kazanlak Rose Oil
The oil-bearing rose ‘ Rosa Damascena’ was brought to Bulgaria by the Ottomans Turkish merchants in the 17th century to be cultivated in the Balkan regions .A nearby valley to the new town of Kazanlak was a perfect environment for growing roses .
The Turkish word for ‘still’ is Kazan and Kazanlak means a place of stills.
Bulgarian Rose Oil is known as ‘Liquid Gold’
Prices can reach 4,000 Euros a kilogram
The first official records of rose oil exports refer to trade with Germany and Austro-Hungary beginning in 1771.
Because of the country’s unique climate and soil, this rose gradually developed into a Bulgarian strain distinct from Damask roses elsewhere and so at the beginning of the 19 century the rose was called the ‘Kazanlak Rose’.
The valley has become known as the Valley of the Roses and produces the finest rose oil in the world.
Rose Oil Festival 2019
Friday 31st May Saturday 1st June Sunday 2rd June
Hotels Accommodation around Kazanlak
If you are going to visit the Rose Oil festival it is wise to book your accommodation well in advance if you wish to stay within the town. Hotels are booked up early and you may have to travel 20 miles (30kms) or more to the next available hotel that may suit your needs.
You can check out the hotels and book here