The Symbol of Bulgaria, the oil-bearing rose, again to welcome arriving passengers at Sofia Airport

2013-06-04 — / — For second consecutive year, Sofia Airport Terminal 2 is opening doors for the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose – a symbol of our country.

On Thursday and Friday (30-31 May) 20 volunteers will welcome arriving passengers with fragrant flowers, picked early in the morning from the rose gardens of the village of Panicherevo. To preserve rose fragrance, collection of rose blossoms begins early in the morning, before sunrise, and should be completed by 10 a.m., before getting too hot.

The Bulgarian oil-bearing rose is presented at the airport in the middle of the rose-picking season in the Rose Valley that started earlier this year.

The purpose of this voluntary initiative is to make popular the agricultural sector that uses the labour of whole regions in Bulgaria and makes our country the biggest rose oil producer in the world.

There are almost 200 types and more than 18 000 species of roses in nature. For more than 350 years, the rose otto produced from the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose has maintained unsurpassed quality on a world scale. The process of improving the rose to reach perfection took a long time. Four varieties were cultivated – Eleina, Yanina, Svezhen and Iskra. They are extremely precious because they produce high yield of fresh flower and essential oil, they are cold and disease resistant and can be grown successfully in different regions.

Rose production in Bulgaria is based on the species – Rosa damascena Mill. f. trigintipetalaDieck (Kazanlashka Oil-Bearing Rose) and the limited presence of Rosa alba L. (White Oil-Bearing Rose).

In the past, some species could be found as varieties or were grown on small areas, such as Stambolska Rose, Sakarska Rose and some other species that differed from the Kazanlashka Rose by lower content of essential oil.

Apart from Bulgarian local varieties and species, after the 1950s, foreign types, cultivars and species were imported to be studied and cultivated. In 2004, 14 samples of oil-bearing roses from David Austin (UK)’ collection were purchased, the samples belonging to the oldest roses group. The species in this group were cultivated before 1867 and used for producing essential oil. They are included in numerous rose collections and are valued for their beautiful and fragrant flowers and ancient origin.

Afterwards, other varieties of oil-bearing rose were imported, including the possible parental varieties of Rosa damascena Mill. f. trigintipetala Dieck. These are Rosa fedtschenkoana, Rosa gallica,and Rosa moschata. All introduced roses are being studied to be included in a selection programme.

However, only the Kazanlashka Rose – Rosa damascena Mill. is set as the current international standard for oil of rose.


Picture: Sofia Airport

Picture: Sofia Airport