Rose Oil industry Period 1

After the year 1664, there was a period of about a century in which the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose gained recognition as crops for its original agrotechnics, spreading and use of a unified cultivation technology. The processing equipment was significantly improved and the gyulpans were designed. The Bulgarian rose oil hit the markets in Western Europe where it was in great demand. After more than a century, during which the rose plantations consolidated and expanded, there came a period of stagnation. Rose growers had to pay taxes, amounting to about 10% of the expected price of the rose oil they produced. The Turkish authorities raised this tax even more.

After the Liberation from the Turkish rule, the rose oil industry stepped up slowly. The annual export was more than 3,000 kg.

Rose Oil Exports
Year Kg Year Kg
1889 2767 1896 3312
1890 3164 1897 3192
1891 3130 1898 3430
1892 2843 1899 3594
1893 2749 1900 5346
1894 3118 1901 3027

The following rose-manufacturing areas were established:

  • Kazanlak, Stara Zagora, Chirpan, Nova Zagora
  • Karlovo, Hisaria, Sumena Gora
  • Strelcha, Brezovo
  • Peshtera, which declined after 1902.

Until that times the main business in the region was the textile industry. With the development of the rose industry, the coppersmith's trade emerged as vitally important for the construction and maintenance of the distillation equipment. It was coppersmiths who improved the distillation equipment and thus contributed for obtaining oil at higher yield and of better quality. Craftsmen competed to design and construct better coolers. The progress of the rose oil industry raised the importance of trade.

Many of the major rose growers sold their oil at the then famous Ouzoundzhovo fair and the fairs in Kazanlak and Sliven. Some of the dealers developed a keen interest in trade. They started travelling round Central and Western Europe to offer rose oil and gradually became professional merchants. Kiro and Hristo Kirooglou were the first merchants in Kazanlak who are said to have exported rose oil to Germany and Austria- Hungary in 1771 and over the following few years. In 1800 Hristo Rachkov of Kazanlak began to purchase rose oil and fill it into muskals. The merchants began to avoid Constantinople as an intermediate trading center and exported rose oil directly to Western Europe. In this way the new Bulgarian merchants made the name of the Bulgarian rose oil known around Europe. Manufacturers of perfume and cosmetic products also sought direct contacts with the Bulgarian merchants. Doncho Papazooglou founded the first trading company for purchase and export of rose oil in 1820 in Kazanlak.

The family company Shipkovi was set up in 1840. This Kazanlak-based company gained international reputation and became an industry leader through proper management. In 1863 the Orozov trading company was established. In 1864, again in Kazanlak, the company of Hristo Hristov was founded.

Rose Industry in the Bulgarian Rose Valley

Customers, the western perfumeries, wanted to buy rose oil of the same quality every year. To meet their requirements, the Bulgarian merchants strived to purchase rose oil from the same areas each time. They came to have higher requirements to the packing. Special labels, high-quality wrapping of the concumi and artistic decoration of the boxes for stacking the concumi were worked out. The wooden muskals were decorated with poker-work.

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