A short guide for the modern visitor in Kazanlak, the capital of the Valley of Roses, Bulgaria – Part 1
Cover photo: “The Thracian”, sculpture by Doko Dokov in the center of Kazanlak.
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If you travel to Bulgaria and want to see some other interesting towns in the country, I recommend to visit Kazanlak at least for a weekend. Famous Bulgarian artists, writers, are connected with this remarkable beautiful city. It is also sort of a capital of the Valley of Roses in Bulgaria.
It is best to plan your trip to Kazanlak for the end of May. Why then…. The answer lies below in the post. Read what else you can do there, where to stay and where to eat deliciously.
Where to stay in Kazanlak?
I chose “Diamond” hotel because it was right in the center, at the beginning of the pedestrian zone, at a roundabout that houses the History Museum and Art Gallery. You can read about Hotel “Diamond” in the publication Hotel Diamond, in the center of Kazanlak, at the end of the pedestrian zone, Bulgaria.
If you want a hotel with such a location, you can book your stay right here.
The Valley of Roses
The Kaznlak Valley is also called the Valley of Roses because of the huge oil rose plantations. The unique climate, equal temperatures without amplitudes, the protection against wind of the surrounding mountains Stara Planina and Sarnena Sredna Gora, as well as the sandy soil, which allows moisture to the roots of the rose, create these extremely favorable conditions for the development of the queen of flowers.
When you are in Kazanlak, every museum and landmark related to the production of rose oil is a must-see location in your plan.
The first such place is the Rose Museum.
It is Located in Rosarium Park.
There you will learn about the history of the production of the highest quality rose oil in the world, namely Bulgarian. Did you know that for 1 liter of rose oil you need between 2000 and 15 000 kg of rose flowers. The best variety of rose for extracting “liquid gold”, as the oil is called, is Damascene. It originates from the city of Damascus, in Syria, hence its name. This rose gives the highest productivity. Another species used for rosary is the Alba rose, but it has 2 times lower productivity. Rose oil is obtained after double distillation. It is very similar to that of brandy. The end product is expensive because the process is resource consuming. To this day, the rose blossom is picked by hand. The price per kilogram can reach EUR 7,000. Some manufacturers have been tempted to dilute it with geranium oil. This forgery is given the name “tereshe”.
The pots in which the rose oil was stored were flat, round vessels made of copper, called “kunkumi.” And muscal is a unit of quantity, approx. 5 gr.
If you are still not fed up with the scent of roses, go to the Museum of Essential Oils, but it is at the end of the city, on the way to the Thracian tombs, to the town of Shipka. You won’t see any artifacts there, but they will tell you exactly how rose oil is distilled. More interestingly, you will learn about the characteristics and benefits of other essential oils that are extracted and used in cosmetics. There you will be told about Melissa, pine, chamomile, lavender, immortelle, mint, geranium, salvia or sage and basil. In the shop at the museum you can buy at good prices essential oils, as well as cosmetics with extracts from them.
Kazanlak celebrates the Rose Festival all week, at the end of May. A visit during this period would be interesting due to the many festivities taking place. The city chooses the most beautiful girl for The Queen of Roses, as the holiday is called.
The Valley of the Thracian Kings
The Kazanlak Valley, in addition to being the Valley of Roses, is also the Valley of the Thracian Kings, because it is full of mounds with Thracian tombs from the VI, V and IV centuries B.C. Archaeologists estimate that about 1,200 tombs have been buried there, but only 200 have been discovered and only 5-6 are open to the public.
The Kazanlak tomb is the easiest and closest to visit, it can be reached by foot because it is in the city itself. It is located on the territory of Tulbeto Park, where you can stroll and rest, and why not have a picnic. The original tomb is closed to prevent demolition. The frescoes are painted with organic paints, made by very old technology and their composition has not yet been revealed. The condensate that forms in the chamber of the tomb destroys the artifacts and a copy is made, which is 10 meters from the original. There they will tell you more about the finds and symbolism of these impressive Thracian remains.
For the other tombs it is good to get in a car and go around them. They are open until 17:00, so it doesn’t take long. In the morning you stop at the museum of essential oils, where you spend approx. 30-40 minutes and then straight to the conglomerate mounds “Helvetia”, “Griffins”, “Shushmanets”, which are on the right side, before the turnoff for the town of Shipka. There is a fee for all three. For a family with 2 children the ticket is BGN 12 in total.
A little further after the turnoff for Shipka, on the left side is Golyama Kosmatka. They also pay BGN 12 per family. Otherwise, it is BGN 6 per adult. These are the tariffs for all historical and cultural sites in the region.
Some of the most interesting Thracian artifacts have been found in Golyama Kosmatka or as it is named The Seuthes III Tomb.
There was discovered the bronze head of Seuthes III, ruler of the Odrysians from the IV century BC. He was a brave and rebellious ruler, he rebelled against the rule of the heirs of Alexander the Great. The remains of its capital, the town of Seuthopolis, are located under the Koprinka Dam and were discovered during its construction. There is a plan on how to open and open for visits, but this endeavor needs financial resources and is currently waiting for better times. Hopefully, by then, the ruins will not be completely eroded underwater.
Until the end of 2020, you cannot enter the Ostrusha mound because it is being repaired. Svetitsa also has no access for visitors. In the latter, the team of archaeologist Dr. Georgi Kitov discovered the famous golden mask and gold ring to it of Teres, king of the Odrysians, who lived in VI BC, whose possessions reached as far as the Danube.
To be continued….
How to get there?
Don’t worry about how you will get to all these places in Kazanlak. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of their locations and then select directions:
How to rent a car?
If you need to rent a car to and around Kazanlak, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform.
Where to follow the reviews and ratings blog placescases.com?
Are you looking for info about good restaurants, hotels, any nice places in Bulgaria and around the world? Then dig into the categories of placescases.com to find something just for you.
Do you ever wonder how some places differ so much from others in service, environment, as an overall experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I constantly add to my collection reviews about those of them, which practice its principles, regardless of intentionally or accidentally. If you are curious to understand which are they, explore category The Experience Economy.