The most colorful event for the residents and guests of the town of Kazanlak - the Rose Festival is dedicated to the Kazanlak oil-bearing rose.
The beginning was set back in 1903, when the citizens of Kazanlak first organized the Rose Festival. It was dedicated not only to beauty and flowers, but also to charity. Rich exhibitions of roses and flowers were organized, trips to the Shipka Monastery, specially issued cards with views of the Rose Valley on the theme - rose picking, traditional production of rose oil and more. Funds were raised for poor families, the elderly, orphans and those with tuberculosis. The Rose Festival in Kazanlak received a new development in the 1930s. With the launch of the sub-Balkan line during the Rose Festival, special trains were assembled to visit the Rose Valley. Special discounted tickets were issued, inviting citizens from different parts of Bulgaria to visit the Rose Valley during the rose picking to feel the unsurpassed aroma of roses. Charity was again the main goal of the organizers of the Rose Festival. Certain sums were provided for the maintenance of Kazanlak children in Sofia schools.
After 1944, the festival was banned, but not forgotten. The restoration of the Rose Festival in Kazanlak took place in 1966, and for this purpose a special organizing committee was elected, which included the head of the Culture and Arts Department, the director of the Oil Rose Experimental Station, the director of the Bulgarian Rose Factory. of the Iskra Museum and headed by the Deputy Mayor of Kazanlak. Commissions for landscaping, advertising, finance, trade and organization, cultural and sporting events were established.
In 1967 in Kazanlak was organized the first national rose festival in which rose growers from Stara Zagora and Plovdiv districts participated. In 1969, the actor Joro Nikolov - head of the satirical theater at the community center "Iskra" - Kazanlak introduced in his script the carnival procession "Merry Kazanlak" led by the chariot of Seuthes III (Thracian king) and Queen Rosa. In 1971, by a decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Rose Festival in Kazanlak was declared national.
In 2005 the town of Pavel Banya also organized a show - "Choice of Queen Rosa".
In the historical development of the Rose Festival - Kazanlak innovative moments during the year are: the award ceremony of the city of Kazanlak, a plein air of artists in the Valley of Roses - 1985.
At the Rose Festival in 1986, the new trolleybus line in Kazanlak was inaugurated. This year, for the fifth time, the Bulgarian Rose 86 Bulgarian Journalists' Award was presented.
In 1991, the Queen Rosa Ball was held at the Arsenal House of Culture. The queen's crown is made of silver and is made by the master goldsmith Lubo Dudev. The rituals of "rose picking" and "rose cooking" continue to be performed with great interest.
In 2000 the ritual "Rosavarene" was demonstrated in the rose gardens of Gorno Cherkovishte, and in 2011 in Rozovo, Kanchevo, Gorno Cherkovishte, Razhena, Gorno Izvorovo and the rose gardens near Kazanlak.
In order to preserve the uniqueness of the Rose Festival, the municipalities of Karlovo and Kazanlak jointly patented it. The registration number of the trademark is № 133543, and the term of the joint patent is August 5, 2024.
Introducing the audience to the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the Valley of the Thracian Kings; presentation of authentic productions and crafts related to the cultivation and processing of roses and characteristic only for this part of Bulgaria.
The festive program includes a demonstration of rose picking and roasting rituals in several Kazanlak villages - Rozovo, Yasenovo, Kanchevo, rose gardens near Kazanlak and elsewhere, festive Carnival procession, show-performance "Coronation of Queen Rose", International Folklore Festival, national festival “Tupan bie - horo se vie”, Rose Wine Festival, etc.
Experiential and interactive activities
Rose picking in the rose gardens in the villages near Kazanlak is among the most attractive activities during the festival. The picker starts at sunrise. The reason for this is that when the sun's rays touch the pink flowers, they begin to release their valuable aromatic oils into the air and they must be plucked as quickly as possible before they dry.
Visits to distilleries and ethnographic complexes that demonstrate the production of rose oil are and integral element of the festival as well.
The idea of creating and operating tourist attractions are completely subject to the requirements for sustainability in development. The whole activity during the picking of rose flowers and the distillation of rose oil is environmentally friendly and is done manually without the use of agricultural machinery.
All activities during the festival are aimed at positive economic and social effects for the local population and economy.
Main features and services that attract public
The traditional three-day Rose Festival in Kazanlak in recent decades has become a festival of talent, arts and beauty lasting more than a month with a diverse cultural program for tourists, guests and residents of Kazanlak, already establishing its name in Bulgaria and around the world as the Rose Festival in Kazanlak.
Over the years, the Rose Festival has become a unique, colorful and colorful festival that is gaining popularity around the world. Thousands of tourists visit Kazanlak to participate in the rose picking and to get acquainted with the Bulgarian traditions and customs of the Rose Valley.
Key partners and supporters
The main driver of the Rose Festival is the Municipality of Kazanlak, which also enjoys the support and assistance of a number of non-governmental organizations, community centers, etc.
Participants, local community and customer segment
The event is watched live by more than 70,000 guests and tourists. The main target group of the event are all those who are interested in hiking and eco-tourism, authentic crafts.
Communication and dissemination channels
The holiday is already well known both in Bulgaria and abroad, and for this purpose there are websites where the activities during the festival days are written and advertised. Local TV channels are also used.
Given the restrictions on indoor audiences, the latest edition could be watched live on the website of the Municipality of Kazanlak, on the website of Stara Zagora TV, the Facebook page of the Valley of Roses and Thracians festival.
Specific elements and features
Managerial and organizational specifics
As Kazanlak is a city with a rich cultural tradition, the main role in the realization of the local holiday is due to the local government (culture department; tourism department; trade department), the local tourism council, various cultural institutions such as museums, theaters, community centers, etc., organizations non-profit (clubs).
Kazanlak is located in Central Bulgaria and an important transport hub. This is a prerequisite for the good connection of the city with the rest of the country. The city has a railway station, which offers connections with Sofia and the Black Sea coast, as well as with Northern Bulgaria. The access to Kazanlak by car is very convenient. The first-class road Sofia-Burgas passes through the city, and other first-class roads connect it with Veliko Tarnovo and Ruse and from there with Romania, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora and others. Kazanlak is located about 200 km east of the capital Sofia, 120 km from Plovdiv and 50 km from Gabrovo in northern Bulgaria. The town has public transport, as well as bus transport to other villages in the municipality and to other settlements. From 2021, electric buses will run on the inner city lines, which helps to protect the environment and the air and for more comfortable transportation of residents and guests of the city. The festival itself is held in the city center in the pedestrian zone, which is a prerequisite for easy access to the events.
Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin region
Such kind of festival is not known in the Black Sea countries, but there are examples of such events from more distant destinations. For 9 years now, Bulgarians in the American city of Boston have been organizing the Rose Festival. The initiative, quite naturally, comes from migrants from Kazanlak who miss the Valley of the Oil-bearing Rose and the holidays in its honor. Kazanlak is twinned with the Japanese city of Fukuyama, an expression of which is that since 2014, in Japan, June 2 has been declared Rose Day.
The town of Kazanlak and the Valley of the Rose and the Thracian kings. Kazanlak Municipality is located in Central Bulgaria, in the famous Valley of Roses, also called the Valley of the Thracian Kings. The valley is picturesquely situated between two mountains (Stara Planina and Sredna Gora) and has preserved centuries-old traditions of rose production, authentic folklore, local crafts and Thracian culture.
The festival is held annually for one month from mid-May to mid-June, with a focus on three-day celebrations organized in early June.