Cities
Kazanlak
Bulgaria


Location: Kazanlak is located in the Sub-Balkan Valley of the same name, famous for its rose plantations. The rose specie Rosa damascena, from which the rose oil, widely used in perfumery is extracted, has been cultivated for centuries here. Kazanlak is located 194 km away from Sofia, 185 km west from Burgas and 36 km north-west from Stara Zagora.

Population: The population of Kazanlak is 54 146 people, which makes the city the second largest city in Stara Zagora district. Its population is mainly Eastern Orthodox, but there are also small communities of Byzantine rite Catholics and Muslims in the city.

History: During 6th - 5th century B.C., 5 km west from Kazanlak the Thracian city of Seuthopolis was established and soon after that it became the capital of the Thracian Odrysian Kingdom a rich civilization at the Tundzha River Valley. Today, the remnants of the ancient city could be found under the waters of Koprinka Dam. 12 tombs from that period have been found, of which the most famous one is the Kazanlak tomb. The region of todays Kazanlak was under Greek, Celtic and Persian rule and later it was included in the territory of the Roman Empire. In fact there are numerous artefacts, found in the region, which date back as far as Roman times. They provide evidence that roses were grown in Kazanlak as early as the Antiquity era. A tract of Pliny the Younger describes more than 20 varieties of roses. He gave the name Thracian rose to one of these varieties. The rose is also engraved on one of the discovered antique Thracian coins. The region of Kazanlak became part of the First Bulgarian Empire in 815, after the 30-year peace Treaty between khan Omurtag and Byzantium came to an end. Kazanlak as we know it today was established at the end of the 14th century. Till the end of the 19th century, the town was famous for the production of rose oil, coppersmith items, homespun and laces. Kazanlak is the only territory in Bulgaria, which offers favourable conditions for the growth of the oil-bearing rose, which was brought from India, through Persia, Syria and Malaysia. The rose oil from Kazanlak gained international popularity by winning golden medals on the fairs in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Milano and Antwerp.

In 2004, Prof. Georgi Kitov found the golden mask of Teres I and the bronze head of Seuthes III around Kazanlak. The archaeological findings of Prof. Kitov the Thracian tomb, the Ancient city of Seuthopolis, as well as many other historical monuments, make Kazanlak and the region an attractive destination for both Bulgarian and foreign visitors.

Landmarks: Kazanlak is an attractive tourist destination. Places of interest here are: the largest and best preserved Thracian tomb in Bulgaria, included in the list of UNESCO, the Historical museum, The Museum of the Rose. The antique city of Seuthopolis and the Valley of Thracian kings is located nearby.

  • The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a mason tomb with round domes, which is part of a large necropolis, located close to the ancient Thracian city of Seuthopolis. This is the best preserved tomb from Thracian times. It dates back to the end of the 4th century B.C. In 1979 it was included in the UNESCO list of World cultural and natural heritage. The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak owes its international recognition to its unique mural paintings, which are among the best preserved murals of the antique painting from the early Hellenic era. Due to its exceptional value, the access to the original tomb is very limited, in order to preserve it. A second tomb full reproduction of the original, is constructed nearby and is open for tourists.

  • The Iskra Museum of History was established in 1901 and it is one of the oldest museums in the country, with more than 70 000 exhibits. In 1930 the famous writer, artist and community centre figure Dimitar Hristov Chorbadzhiyski Chudomir was appointed for director of the museum. Currently, the museum has 5 sections.

  • The Art Gallery (shares the same building with the Historical museum) is one of the oldest and richest galleries in the country, probably due to the fact that Kazanlak is the home town of some of Bulgarias finest artists (Dechko Uzunov, Nenko Balkanski, Ivan Milev, Chudomir). The gallery has a collection of icons and engravings from the National Revival period, as well as a small collection of works from the decorative and applied arts. Affiliates of the Art gallery are the house Nenko Balkanski and the house National artist Dechko Uzunov, which keep unique artistic works as well.

  • Kulata Ethnographic Complex is located in the oldest quarter of Kazanlak of the same name. Ethnographic expositions have been arranged on Prince Svetopoli Mirski Street in two restored houses a rural sub-Balkan house from the end of the 19th century and an urban house (Hadzhi Enos House) from the middle of the 19th century with the respective interior that is characteristic for the lifestyle during the respective period.

  • The Rose Museum was established in 1969 and became popular even outside Bulgaria. There is an exposition of the Kazanlak rose here, which traces back the centuries old tradition of Bulgarian rose production. Each year, at the end of the first week of June, the traditional Celebration of the rose is organized - the most vivid event in the city of the roses. The culmination of this celebration is the selection of the most beautiful girl for the Queen of the roses.

  • Every first week of June, the Festival of Roses takes place in Kazanlak. The rose is the symbol of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian rose oil is the best in the world - it is used mainly in the luxury French perfumery. Roses used to extract rose oil are picked at the end of May and the beginning of June, early in the morning before the morning dew falls. For the manufacture of just 1 kg of rose oil 3000 kg of rose petals must be processed. Therefore rose oil is even more expensive than gold, but that's not so important. What is important though, is that rose oil is one of the symbols of Bulgaria, it does not exist nowhere else except Bulgaria and only in that particular region ( Kazanlak and Karlovo region), where climate conditions are so specific. The festivals refer mainly to the traditional rituals of rose picking and rose boiling, recreated in authentic environment with many songs, dances and carnival parades. The festival continues two or three days. Young men and women, dressed in national costumes, welcome the guests of the festival and decorate them with garlands of rose blossoms. The most beautiful girl on the festival is nominated and crowned as the Queen of Roses. Guests are treated with the traditional banitsa, rose petals jam and rose liqueur. Every year during the first weekend of the month of June thousands of tourists from all over the world gather in Kazanlak to participate in the local festivities.

Surroundings

  • Shipka Memorial was erected atop of the mount with the same name and it is located 12 km north-west from Kazanlak. The memorial was built in honour of the Bulgarian volunteers and Russian soldiers who lost their lives protecting that strategic hill during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. The memorial stands at 31,5 meters height and there are 894 steps (from ground level) that lead to it. There is a bronze lion at the central entrance. On the ground floor of the memorial, under a marble sarcophagus, the bones of those heroes that perished in the battle are stored. On the other 7 floors there is an exhibition, which accounts for the heroism of the Russian soldiers and the Bulgarian volunteers during the five-month defence of Shipka. The exhibition includes a rich collection of military crosses and medals, pictures, documents and guns.