May and June are great for city breaks and road-trips throughout the fascinating rural areas of Europe: the weather is just perfect, everything is green, the fields are full of flowers fruits and ripe in a dazzling abundance: cherries, peaches, apricots and all the blessings of nature. Bulgaria has more than that, for years, it is a world leader in the production of essential oil of rose and recently it has surpassed France at the production of lavender oil. So you do not need to fly halfway across Europe to see fields of purple lavender, where you do that in Bulgaria, especially that it is not yet a mass touristic area, therefore all the beautiful places are not annoyingly crowded and very importantly, the prices are lower when it comes to accommodation and food.
But before lavender blossoms, it is time for the roses to bloom; this particular type of roses are used for marmalade and fragrance of essential oil with a strong smell.
Geographically speaking, the Rose Valley is stretching from Klisura Kazanlak, between the rivers Stryama (in the west) and Tundzha (towards the east), at an altitude of 700 meters.
From mid-May to early June, the Rose Valley is adorned in clebebrations robes and receives tourists from all over the world to see the miracle. The fields are in bloom and delightful scents flood the surroundings; the show that it provided by the billions of roses in bloom is unique and charming.
At the festival you will enjoy traditional and modern singing, dancing, street parades, and a popularity / beauty contest, where the Rose Queen is chosen among the most beautiful girls; however, beyond all these festivities, the main attraction is very ritual of picking the roses. Rosa Damascena – Damask rose in free translation – it’s the variety that is grown here at the foot of the Balkans and is considered, rightly, the greatest treasure of the region. Aligned rows of roses unfold in front of your eyes just like the beautiful vineyards in Tuscany.
Each piece of this blessed land is cultivated with pink roses and when it is time for harvest, hundreds of day laborers are brought from all over the country to fill hundreds of bags with delicate petals every day.
Obligatory stop: the Damascena Private Distillery in Skobelevo
Damascena is an ethnographic complex, which includes the distillery where you can see how they make the essential oil during the rose harvest season, a rosarium with hundreds of varieties of roses – which come in all shades of pink and all intensities of fragrance, a park, an ethnographic museum, a gift shop (with cosmetics based on rose and lavender) and a restaurant with a lovely garden where the tables are placed under a canopy of climbing roses.
This beautiful place seems to be taken out of the pages of ancient fairy tales, or that you have reached a parallel dymension that resembles Heaven. You will certainly love this place and will definitely want to return.
Photo source: Picture 1: bulgaria-guide.com; Picture 2: putivochka.com.ua; Picture 3: reddit.com; Picture 4: balkanitas.jp; Picture 5: pinterest.com; Picture 6: evgenidinev.photoshelter.com; Picture 7: citysightseeing.bg