Kazanlak in the Rose Valley in Bulgaria

Over two-thirds of the world’s rose oil is said to come from Bulgaria’s Rose Valley, which is located at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountains. Kazanlak is a city in Bulgaria’s Stara Zagora province. It is situated in the midst of the same-named plain, towards the eastern end of the Rose Valley, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range.

During the months of May and June, when flowers blossom throughout the valleys, Kazanlak enjoys an increase in visitors. Kazanlak’s major draw is its roses, but the city’s Thracian heritage has also had an influence. A significant tomb from the 4th century BC may be discovered here, as well as the “Valley of the Thracian Kings,” a chain of ancient burial mounds that continues north towards Shipka. Tyulbe Park, a 15-minute walk northeast of centre Kazanlâk, is home to one of the century’s most significant archaeological finds: a brilliantly frescoed 4th-century BC tomb of a Thracian monarch. It was discovered during the building of a bomb shelter in 1944 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The current city was constructed in the early 15th century as a military fortification to guard Shipka Pass. It then evolved into a village of artisans. Tanning, coppersmithing, goldsmithing, frieze weaving, shoemaking, and rose cultivation are only a few of the trades that have evolved. The oil-producing rose, which was introduced from Central Asia via Persia, Syria, and Turkey, has found all of the conditions it need to thrive: a proper temperature, high humidity, and light, sandy, cinnamon forest soils.

Kazanlak, one of Bulgaria’s most multicultural cities, has a working mosque as well as substantial Turkish and Pomak Muslim communities, making it one of the country’s most diversified metropolitan districts. The city itself pales in comparison to the splendour of the surrounding valleys; it’s a hodgepodge of Soviet-style buildings and decrepit markets radiating from the well-kept centre plaza. However, there are sections of remarkable beauty throughout, particularly along the riverbank, which is lined with 19th-century houses.

The Iskra City History Museum was one of the earliest municipal museums in a Bulgarian provincial town. It houses around 50,000 objects covering the Kazanlak region’s history from ancient times to the present. The museum’s treasures from the Thracian city of Seutopolis are shown in three unique rooms. During the high tourist season, the museum organises loaned special collections and temporary shows of some of its most cherished assets.

Tylebe Park and the Thracian Tomb are both within walking distance of the picturesque Kulata district, which is home to the Kulata Ethnological Complex. Among the rustic arrangements are a recreation of a 19th-century one-story farmhouse and wooden outbuildings loaded with farm tools and carts.

The Rose Museum in Kazanlak is a branch of the “Iskra” Historical Museum. In 1967, Kazanlak and the surrounding region had a small exposition dedicated to the rose-picking business. The Rose Museum now has a collection of over 15,000 objects connected to rose cultivation and production in Bulgaria.

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