Alteya’s Rose Field Gallery

Alteya’s rose fields are located in the world-renowned Kazanlak Valley of Roses also known as the ‘Bulgarian Rose Valley’. Hugged between the Balkan range and Sredna Gora mountains, the exotic Bulgarian Rose Valley is the home of the most exquisite rose oil in the world, the 'Bulgarian Rose Otto'. The fresh air and pure rains from the mountains mix with the gentle sunrays in a harmony that nurtures hundreds of world’s finest herbs, botanicals, and plants. The Valley is considered to have the best soil structure, air humidity, cloudiness, and precipitation for obtaining the finest and most sought-after rose oil in the world, the Bulgarian Rose Otto

rose field

History of Bulgarian Rose Otto:

Known as the finest rose oil or "rose otto" in the world, the Bulgarian Rose Oil has been distilled for over 340 years from freshly picked Bulgarian Rosa Damascena (Damask Rose) blossoms. The exact origin of the damask rose cannot be traced to any particular time period or geographic location; however there are fossil records which show roses have existed for millions of years. The Damask Rose is the oldest cultivated European plant in the United States and has been called the Queen of Flowers all over the world.
Uses of rose oils date back to the ancient civilizations of Persia, Asia, Greece, Rome and Egypt. Rose oil has always been and still is a symbol of love and beauty. The modern healing tradition of the extract of rose began in the 17th century with the writings of English physician Nicholas Culpeper. The herbalist described the use of red roses to strengthen the heart, its cooling and astringent actions, and its effect on headaches and tired eyes.

rose history

Rose-distillery near the city of Kazanlak at the end of
19th century.

Rose-oil distillation in the beginning of 20th century.


Our Social Responsibility - Alteya’s Friends and Family:

Since its founding, our company Alteya has been working hard to provide employment and support to the local population in some of the poorest villages in the Rose Valley and the Balkan Mountain regions in Bulgaria. By purchasing our products, you give a chance for economic survival to more than 200 families who are otherwise struggling to provide for themselves and the ones they love. Our employees are our extended family - like us, they love the Roses, The Valley, and our Nature.
Thank you on their behalf.

Alteya's friends and family at the end of a harvest day.

    Proud and happy of her work.

The Bulgarian Rose Harvest:


The Rosa Damascena bushes begin to blossom around the third week of May and continue to blossom for three to four weeks depending upon the seasonal climatic conditions. The yield of the precious rose oil varies every year as it is dramatically affected by weather conditions - during very hot and dry weather, harvest may last only two weeks and the yield oil is lowered due to lower humidity. Conversely, during mild and humid weather, the rose harvest lasts much longer and the rose oil yield from the distillation process is substantially higher.

The Bulgarian rose harvesting season starts as soon as the flowers begin to open and continues until all rose blossoms have been gathered. The rose blossoms are still hand-picked according to the 300-year old tradition by nipping each individual blossom just below the calyx (the green, outer protective cover). Rose picking begins at sunrise when the oil yield is at its highest, and is completed by late morning while the dew is still sparkling on the flowers. The collected rose blossoms are initially placed into baskets, and then transferred to sacks for transportation to the distillery.

The hand-picked tradition is the only method for collecting the rose blossoms.

The collection begins at sunrise.

Morning Dew

The sacks with the rose blossoms are transported to the distillery as quickly
as possible where the distillation process continues during the entire day.

The blossoms are transferred to sacks for easy transportation.

The Bulgaria Rose Festival:

The Rose Valley has also always been the center stage for the colorful age-old Festival of Roses. This traditional festival is a symbol of the rose industry and its influence on the culture, spirit and lifestyle of the Kazanlak Region. The Bulgarian Rose Festival is celebrated with folk songs and dances at Kazanlak and Karlovo on the first Sunday in June, at the start of the rose harvest in the Valley.

Alteya's rose fileds are located at the foot of Balkan Montain
near 'Botev Vrah' peak (7800 ft. high)

Girls in traditional Bulgarian costumes during the Festival.

The magic of nature!

Harvest and Festival

The Rose Distillery:

The Rose oil distillation is one of the important processes for producing the finest quality Bulgarian rose essential oil - Rose Otto. For the production of 1 kilogram of rose oil are used between 3000 and 3400 kilograms of fresh rose petals. The fresh rose petals are dumped in stills and then filled with water. A method is used called cohobation, where the water is repeatedly distilled. The temperature is a key component during cohobation because it affects the steam pressure.  The steam heats the water in a retort. Then the water boils and the steam is carried to a condenser. The circulating cold water in the condenser cools the steam down and reverts it to liquid. After the condensation the water and the oil enter a container called "Florentine flask" (Florence flask). The rose essential oil floats on top and is separated for manual filtration. The amazing rose oil has been distilled.  The left-over water in the "Florentine flask" is carried to a cohobator for redistillation.

The distillation process continues as long as the roses bloom. 


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