Discover the beauty of Rose Valley
Places worth visiting in and around Kazanlak
Written and photos by Adriána Čigášová, edited by Andrea Vushkova
Known mostly for the Rose Festival, Kazanlak is a rather small town in the so-called Rose Valley in the middle of Bulgaria. It is not a vibrant city, full of tourists or crowds, but you can find plenty of lovely spots in the town and impressive monuments in the surrounding area. If you are wondering how to spend your free weekend in Bulgaria, the region near Kazanlak with the town itself provides many opportunities to explore.
The name Rose Valley comes from the Damascena Rose which was imported to Bulgaria a long time ago. Thanks to the combination of ideal temperature, a good level of rainfall, and nutrient soil in the valley, the rose oil made from these roses reached exceptional quality. Apart from the roses, Kazanlak is also known as the home of the Thracian Kings and even now you can visit well preserved Thracian tombs. Those, together with the museum of roses are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Rose Museum belongs to the list of must-see places in Kazanlak. There are exhibitions of original pictures and documents mapping the history of rose oil production in this area, as well as tools and vessels used for cultivation, storing, and transport of oil and rose water. If you are a fan of history and art, you can also visit the Historical Museum, one of the oldest in the region. Another must-see is the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak which is part of the ancient cultural heritage and is considered a masterpiece of Thracian art.
Both the Rose Museum and Thracian Tomb are situated in parks – the Rose Garden and Tjulbeto Park are perfect places to enjoy a walk or picnic on sunny weekends. If you don’t feel like chilling in the town anymore, here are a few spots worth visiting, which are easily accessible from Kazanlak.
Probably the first thing that catches your eye on the way to the Monument of Freedom is the gorgeous golden cupola of the Shipka Memorial Church. It is one of the most beautiful churches in Bulgaria and together with the Shipka Monument are dedicated to the memory of Bulgarian and Russian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for liberation from the Ottoman Empire. The monument currently serves as a museum containing relics from the Russo-Turkish War.
|Shipka Memorial Church|
Just 24 kilometers from Kazanlak, you can find this impressive communist monument with a great view. For many years, it has been exposed to adverse weather conditions and vandalism. As a result, the roof and the fascinating mosaics inside have been destroyed. Luckily, the monument is currently under reconstruction thanks to the Buzludzha project, which you can read more about in our previous article.
The Koprinka dam offers great opportunities for recreation, swimming, or water sports, especially in the summer. An interesting fact is that when the dam was under construction, the remains of the ancient Thracian city Seuthopolis were discovered. After their research, all the artifacts were displayed in the Historical Museum of Kazanlak.
Church of St. Ivan Rilski in Zhrebchevo Dam
Going in the opposite direction from Koprinka dam, and about 40 minutes away by car, you can reach another dam - Zhrebchevo. What’s curious about it is the so-called “Submerged Church”. The “St. Ivan Rilski” temple was part of the village Zapalnya that was submerged in water because of the dam’s construction. All the buildings, as well as the rose fields around the village, are now at the bottom of the reservoir. The ruins of the church are now the last testimony of the past settlement.
|The "Submerged Church"|
The list of places worth visiting in this area could go on and on, but I hope you enjoyed this small sample of the picturesque Valley of Roses!