Friday, 4 May 2012



Have you ever heard of the valley of roses?
Bulgaria, to me, was a real eye opener. The history, tradition, folklore and dances are fascinating. You will find several articles with interesting information in due course.
At the foot of the Balkan Mountain in Bulgaria is the Valley of Roses. Here the beauty of the mountains is combining with the fertile land of the river Tundzha. The valley lies in the middle of Bulgaria.
I found an article about Kazanlak, amongst other interesting places in Bulgaria. The more I read the more interested I became to go there for a holiday. What I like about Bulgaria it is not spoiled, yet, by tourism being built up which means everything organised, and with that the real thing which makes a country, ruined. It started already on the coast.
The Valley of Roses covers an area of approx. 780 sq km. It forms a rectangular shape and the river Tundzha flows through it. The valley is called Kazanlak after the town.

Kazanlak had its first store built in 1820 by a rose merchant Doncho Papazov. The town has been the centre of the rose growing and manufacturing of oils and perfumes ever since. It produces half of the world's rose oil. It is of such high quality that it is exported to France, US, Japan and Germany, to name but just a few. World famous perfume brands like Yves, Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Channel and Ester Lauder are some of the top clients.
Besides of all that fame the Kazanlak valley is one of the most beautiful scenes in Bulgaria.
The aromatic rose was brought from Syria in 1270 by Count de Gruye to the valley. Conditions are perfect for the rose to grow. The temperature is ideal when in February the rose forms buds, then later in May and June, when humidity is high, the rose blossoms are picked. The soil too is absolutely perfect, so I was told by the local rose growers.
There is a big Festival of the Roses because the rose plays a big part in the lives of the people of Kazanlak and surrounding region. Rose growing and the associated industries have been part of the people's lives for centuries and they continue to keep the tradition today.

Kazanlak plays host to the annual Festival of Roses during the first week of June. Unfortunately, I've never been able to be there at that time but it is on my travel book as a must. The first festival, in 1903, was dedicated to beauty and charity. Today the festival is one of the most beautiful events of the year in the region, for people and tourists. There is also a beauty contest, the winner being crowned 'Queen Rose'. You can watch traditional rose picking rituals and rose distillations. The Festival has a large street procession and is joined by people from the international Folklore Festival which is held at the same time. It definitely must be an experience. Especially for me, I like traditional customs and dances.
The Rose Industry Museum - The Rose of Kazanlak expo was opened in 1969 at the Institute of Roses. We saw how various rose products are made - jam, yes jam and it does taste good, toothpaste and, of course, perfume and oil. The development of the industry, over the years, is shown in various displays.
It is really worth while to go to the nearby village Tarnichene. There we could watch an active rose distillery. It is not only fascinating but also interesting. The people are so friendly and helpful. You will find people who can speak enough English to get yourself understood.


We flew into Sofia and hired a car with a service straight forward, honest and good quality cars. We drove all the way there and stayed in Hotel Vesta which is in the middle of the town and has its own restaurant. Most of the menus in town you will find in Bulgarian and English. The hotel is a 3* and has a medium budget price. The food in any restaurant was very good quality, home cooking, and very, very good priced. Try the Bulgarian Menus they are a real experience and very tasty.
Well, I'll see you there next year in the first week of June.

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