Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sofia, Bulgaria

How cool is this card? It's in the shape of Bulgaria, sent from the capital Sofia, if I'm reading my Cyrillic right. I forgot to check the right angle for the country shape when I shot the photo, but it's roughly there :)

Bulgaria Land of Roses postcard. Postcrossing BG-8266
Bulgarian train stamp. I love it! but I'll be sitting here
for an hour if I try and read the Cyrillic on the stamp!
Thanks, Yana!

The Rose Valley (Rozova dolina) located in the middle of Bulgaria is famous for its rose-growing industry, which supplies 70 percent of the rose oil used in the perfume industry worldwide. Rose oil production comprises nearly 2 percent of the Bulgarian economy and provides more than 50,000 jobs.

comparison photo from 140 years ago!
Rose-picking in the Rose Valley near Kazanlak,
1870s engraving by F. Kanitz (from Wikipedia)

Many Bulgarians consider the rose part of the country's national identity. The history of essential oil production in Bulgaria dates back to the 17th century. The first roses were brought to the country by soldiers of Alexander the Great, long before distillation first started. These roses were from the region of the town of Kashan in Persia (Iran today).

The centre of the rose oil industry is Kazanlak, while other towns of importance include Karlovo, Sopot, Kalofer and Pavel banya. Every year, the Festival of Roses is held in June to coincide with the harvesting season. Activities include rose picking, ritualized boiling of the flowers to make rose oil, parades, folk dancing, performances of traditional songs, and the crowning of the rose queen.

Related links
Bulgarian culture and flowers (eHow)
Bulgarian festivals (Free Tourist Guide)
roses ( history, medicinal use, even recipes!
videos of Rose Valley at YouTube

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Very cool postcard!