Did you know that Bulgaria is the world's leading manufacturer of rose oil, producing and exporting to perfumeries all over the globe? The Bulgarian Rose Museum is located in the town of Kazanlak which sits at the foot of the Balkan Mountain range on the eastern end of the Rose Valley.
We actually had the place to ourselves, as the season had already passed. The roses are celebrated with a lively, week-long festival in early June (we visited the first week of July). When Tiho's parents inquired about the rose season, a museum staffer scoffed and said, "Expecting to see roses in July is like expecting to find cherries in December!" She might have been grumpy but she let us tour the museum for free, so we didn't mind.
The landscape behind and around the museum took my breath away. These photos are quite indicative of the visual gorgeousness that characterizes the Bulgarian countryside.
I didn't buy any souvenirs at the museum but ended up purchasing a velvet-lined, hand-carved rose box when we were at the seaside later in the week. Out of all the goodies I brought back with us, this is one of my most treasured, mostly because it feels so authentically Bulgarian.