The Rose Valley, also known as The Valley of Roses, is an area spread out over the Karlovo and Kazanlak fields.
The valley is famous for its rose-growing industry which have been cultivated there for centuries, being one of the biggest producers of rose oil the world, producing 85% of the world’s rose oil.
The center of the rose oil industry is Kazanlak. The conditions in Kazanlak proved to be more favourable for the cultivation of the rose than those in its own country of origin - Tunisia. This is specifically valid for the rainfalls. The air humidity, cloudiness and precipitation in May and June contributed to obtain roses yielding high percentage of oil.
A Rose Festival is held each year in the town of Kazanlak, where a beautiful girl is elected “Queen Rose,” followed by rose picking, street parades and local folk dancing.
Other towns of importance include Karlovo, Sopot, Kalofer and Pavel banya.
The Trip of the rose
According to a legend, returning soldiers of Alexander Macedon’s garrisons brought the first roses to Thrace from the region of the town Kashan in Persia through Syria and Damascus. Bulgarian scientists presume that the cultivation of the roses was introduced to the region round Kazanlak, a town founded by the Turks in 1420. The roses were reportedly brought from Tunisia by a Turkish judge, who had beautiful vast gardens planted with fragrant roses. This is the trip of the rose.
After the developing of this industry in the Middle Ages and inventing the double and multiple distillation, the Bulgarian rose oil soon made a name for its superior quality. The demand for this oil of unsurpassed quality has not faded until today. The Bulgarian producers of the time became aware of the fact that they were manufacturing a new and precious product.
Distillation of rose flowers for liberating oil, a technology unknown anywhere in the world so far was welcomed by the new industries of perfumery and cosmetics that were flourishing in Western and Central Europe at that time. The Bulgarian rose oil was recognized in the world market for its superior quality and the cultivation and processing of roses developed as the first Bulgarian industry.