Kazanlak is a town in central Bulgaria, located in the famous Rose Valley. The Rose Valley is an area where the oil-bearing rose (Rosa damascena) has been cultivated for centuries, producing the renowned Bulgarian rose oil. The Rose Valley also boasts a rich Thracian heritage, with many ancient tombs and monuments to explore. In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the history, attractions, facts and events related to Kazanlak and the Rose Valley.


The history of Kazanlak dates back to the Thracian times, when the region was part of the Odrysian kingdom. The Thracians were famous for their art, culture and religion, and left behind numerous burial mounds (kurgans) that contain valuable artifacts and paintings. The most famous of these is the Kazanlak Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates from the 4th century BC. The tomb is decorated with exquisite frescoes depicting scenes from the life of a Thracian ruler and his wife.

The town of Kazanlak was founded in the 14th century by the Ottoman Turks, who named it Kazanlyk, meaning "cauldron place". The town was a center of pottery and metalworking, and later became a strategic point during the Russo-Turkish wars. In the 19th century, Kazanlak was part of the Bulgarian National Revival movement, and witnessed several battles during the April Uprising of 1876 and the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913.

The rose cultivation in the region began in the 17th century, when the oil-bearing rose was brought from Asia Minor by Turkish merchants. The rose oil soon became a valuable commodity, exported to Europe and the Middle East for perfumery, cosmetics and medicine. The rose industry reached its peak in the late 19th and early 20th century, when Bulgaria produced about 75% of the world's rose oil. Today, Bulgaria is still one of the leading producers of rose oil, along with Turkey, Iran and Morocco.


Kazanlak and the Rose Valley offer a variety of attractions for visitors, ranging from historical and cultural sites to natural and recreational ones. Some of the main attractions are:

  • The Rose Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated to the rose plant. The museum displays over 15,000 exhibits related to the rose cultivation and production, such as tools, vessels, photos and documents. The museum also features a replica of a rose oil warehouse and a laboratory for testing the quality of the rose oil.
  • The Ethnographic Complex "Kulata", located in the oldest part of Kazanlak. The complex consists of restored architectural monuments from the Revival period, such as houses, workshops, a church and a school. The complex also hosts demonstrations of traditional rose distillation and tasting of products made from roses.
  • The Thracian tombs, scattered around the Rose Valley. Besides the Kazanlak Tomb, there are several other notable tombs that can be visited, such as the Ostrusha Tomb, the Golyama Kosmatka Tomb and the Shushmanets Tomb. These tombs reveal fascinating aspects of the Thracian culture, such as their beliefs, rituals and art.
  • The Rose Festival, one of the most spectacular festivals in Bulgaria, dedicated to beauty and flowers. The festival is held every year in late May or early June, when the roses are in full bloom. The festival includes events such as the selection and crowning of Queen Rose, the rituals of "rose picking" and "rose boiling", a festive parade with floats and costumes, an international folklore festival "Youth of Balkans" and more.
  • The Rose Gardens, located around Kazanlak and nearby villages. These gardens are where the roses are grown and harvested for producing rose oil. Visitors can enjoy walking among the fragrant flowers, taking photos or even participating in rose picking activities.


Here are some interesting facts about Kazanlak and the Rose Valley:

  • Kazanlak is also known as the town of roses or the capital of roses.
  • The Rose Valley covers an area of about 3,300 square kilometers (1,300 square miles), between two mountain ranges: Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) and Sredna Gora (Middle Forest).
  • The oil-bearing rose (Rosa damascena) is a hybrid between two wild roses: Rosa gallica and Rosa phoenicia. It has pink or red petals and a strong fragrance.
  • It takes about 3,000-4,000 kilograms (6,600-8,800 pounds) of rose petals to produce one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rose oil. The rose oil is extracted by steam distillation, a process that takes several hours.
  • The rose oil is also known as liquid gold or the queen of oils, due to its high price and quality. The rose oil is used for making perfumes, cosmetics, medicines, aromatherapy and food flavoring.
  • The rose oil has many benefits for the health and beauty, such as soothing, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial and antidepressant properties.
  • The rose water is a by-product of the rose oil production, and it is also widely used for various purposes. The rose water is used for skin care, hair care, cooking, baking, drinking and religious ceremonies.
  • The rose jam is a traditional delicacy made from rose petals, sugar and water. The rose jam is usually eaten with bread or yogurt, or used as a filling for pastries.
  • The rose liqueur is a popular alcoholic drink made from rose petals, sugar and alcohol. The rose liqueur has a sweet and floral taste, and it is often mixed with other drinks or served as a digestif.

Additional information

For more information about Kazanlak and the Rose Valley, you can visit the following websites:

  • Ministry of Tourism - official website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, with information about the Rose Valley and the Thracian kings.
  • Kazanlak Municipality - official website of the Kazanlak Municipality, with information about the town, its history, culture and events.
  • Rose Festival - official website of the Rose Festival, with information about the program, tickets and contacts.
  • Rose Museum - official website of the Rose Museum, with information about the exhibits, working hours and prices.

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