Every year, during the first weekend of June, local community in Kazanlak organizes the annual Rose Festival. The first festival took place 108 years ago, in 1903. Celebrations were held annually, at the beginning of the rose- harvesting period. Karlovo and Pavel Banya - also known for their rose production, started organizing local rose festivals, too. Manufacturers from the whole valley gather dressed up in rose flowers. Mummers, called “koukeri” take part in the street parade. People sing and dance in the streets during the whole fest.
Did you know that:
The combination of several factors makes this region a unique place for growing this sort of rose. The oil extracted from it is the best quality in the world. So the Valley of Roses became a centre of rose oil production and export for centuries. The Rose Valley includes Karlovo and Kazanlak fields, as well as some parts of the Nova Zagora fields. The Total area is about 3,300 square kilometers.
The rose bushes flower for about 25 days a year from mid-May to mid-June. The blooms are picked by hand early in the morning when the aroma is strongest, and transported in small quantities to the distillery. Seedlings come from the Rose Research Institute at Kazanluk, which has developed several Damascena rose varieties suited to conditions in the valley. International buyers pay for the Bulgarian product prices reaching Euro 4,000 a kilo.
Three main events are worth a visit – early morning harvesting ritual in the rose fields, the electing of Queen Rose and the parade along the streets of each town. The processions and the celebrations last for two days. The climax of the festival in on Sunday when Queen Rose is being elected and festival parade takes place along the main streets of each village. There are other interesting events, taking place during the festival weekend – choir a cappella and folklore concerts, art shows, exhibitions, wine-tasting, gourmet-shows, etc. The Rose Festival and the fame of the Bulgarian oil-yielding rose attract numerous visitors from all parts of the world, the most numerous are visitors from Japan, Taiwan and France.
Are you visiting Bulgaria any time soon and you like festivals? We have structured the festivals happening in Bulgaria in several categories and we hope you find them useful for your trip to Bulgaria.