This article was published originally on the Chinese travel blog travelogbook.com and is republished here with the consent of the author.
Chapman Wong, travelogbook.com
If we think about the Netherlands as the land of tulips, if Japan is associated with cherry blossoms, then Bulgaria’s most deeply rooted flower must be roses. In the beginning of summer every year, in the town of Kazanlak, the center of the Valley of Roses, the Rose Festival is held. Through the fragrance of flowers the festival attracts travellers around the world.
Bulgaria is one of the most suitable places in the world for the production of rose oil. Kazanlak’s unique climate, soil and geographical environment make the Rose Damascena (Damascus Rose) flourish. At the Rose Festival, the most special thing is the take part in rose flower picking. At the village Koprinka’s Rose Picking Ritual, people went to the field to harvest the roses, and then put them into the traditional tools to bring the freshly distilled flowers to the home.
The author took part in the rose-raising activity in the village of Koprinka on the same day. He did so with the help of a young man who knew the Bulgarian language and immediately helped him with the preparations for the event. At 7:30 in the morning, in the Town Hall next to the bus stop, the locals have already changed into traditional costumes. Some are preparing petals, some are finishing hair ornaments. Although they are too busy, they suddenly come to us. The outsiders are greeted enthusiastically. The locals let us help to wear the rose garland. There is reason to believe that we are the first travellers, who put on those rose garlands!
Participating in Rose Picking Ritual (20 lev/person) is undoubtedly more connected to experience the roses and the locals than to visit the Rose Museum. Near the start time, there are more and more vehicles and tourist buses, and many people are eager to take photos with the flower-dressers wearing national costumes. At the entrance, a tool for distillation has been set up, and only the people who have been diligent in the work of the flowers will added to petals or flower buds. The whole event was intertwined with the music and dance of the nation. The travellers were still somewhat cautious at first, but they were quickly infected by the atmosphere of joy. Even if they didn’t know each other, they joined hands to join the dance. Is it the magic of roses? Or the enthusiasm of the locals? It’s Both.
How to go to Koprinka?
Go to Bus Station diagonally opposite to Kazanlak Railway Station, take bus number 3, buy tickets on the bus, redeem the ticket, the fare is 1.6 lev, get off at the terminus, walk about 1 km to the field where the event is held.
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