In the months of May and June rose season is a big event, particulary important in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. During this time of year, in all cities and villages between the mountains Balkan and Sredna gora the tempo of the rose-picking campaign is hectic. For the locals it is time of intense work from dusk to dawn. It is also time of many tourist visits as the magic of roses attracts visitors from all over the world.
The traditional rose celebrations are held every year in the end of May and the beginning of June. Most of the attention is directed to city of Kazanlak where the celebrations usually take place the first weekend of June. Yet, we like to make a day trip to city of Karlovo where they officially celebrate the rose the last weekend of May. The atmosphere of this town close to the mountain, with its historic centre, is cosy and welcoming. We love its spirit.
This year, however, is marked by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and for the first time from many years the traditional rose celebrations are not to happen. That’s why we share how the main festive day looks like in Karlovo with our photo archive from 2018. Hopefully that can give you some idea of the rose celebrations in Bulgaria.
Rose celebrations in Karlovo – photos from 2018
9:00 a.m. – Rose-picking ritual in the rose gardens at the city entrance. This is the moment when tourists are invited to freely pick roses themselves in dedicated rose garden. Accompanying folklore program is added for the joy of guests.
10:30 a.m. – Minifestation of Queen of Roses and official fective program on the main city square. Queen of Roses is selected by a jury every year from the girls graduating from the local high schools. The winner is crowned as face and ambassador of the Bulgarian rose during the official celebrations and throughout the year, till the crown is passed to the next Queen next May.
12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Demonstration of traditional rose distilation in old town of Karlovo, with official guests visits.
After 7:00 p.m. – evening concert program on the main city square
Pictures are not powerful enough to recreate completely the spirit of the experience but we hope it gives enough inspiration to put the rose celebrations on your travel calender for next year. We can even meet on the streets of Karlovo. Till then, stay healthy!