Month of May - Rose Festival in the Rose Valley of Karlovo - an Unforgettable Experience
Each year, on the last Saturday of May, Karlovo becomes the capital of the most beautiful and fragrant flower - the rose, one of the symbols of Bulgaria. For centuries, the Rose Valley of Karlovo has been a centre for the cultivation of the oil-bearing rose and the production of rose oil and rose water. For the inhabitants of the valley, besides a poetic symbol, the rose is a livelihood whose traditions are rooted in the centuries. During the Revival and the first decades after the Liberation, rose production became one of the main livelihoods of the people here, and the Karlovo region became the leading producer and exporter of rose oil.
The glory of Karlovo as the centre of rose production and the processing of rose flowers originates even before the Liberation. The rich history, the rose gardens, the beautiful nature and architecture, the local rose industry are extremely attractive and very interesting for Bulgarians and visitors from all over the world. The Rose Festival is a celebration of the regions livelihood, blooming spring, beauty and labour. It is popular with the numerous and diverse events and rituals. The festival is accompanied by folklore concerts and performances, concerts of rock bands, procession of the Queen of Roses, rituals: rose picking, demonstrations of traditional technology for rose oil extraction and old crafts, etc.
Here is a description of the Rose Festival in 1936: ... In these days, when the harvest of the roses takes place, Karlovo is the most beautiful town. The Karlovo field is moving like the sea whose surface changes to pink fields or mint gardens ... Deft girls and boys, with wreaths on their heads, smile and give each guest multi-coloured roses and WELCOME everyone.
In the Museum of History one can watch a demonstration of rose oil extraction and tasting of rose products, art and exhibitions of applied art and crafts, presentation and demonstration of traditional crafts, etc.