Aside from a rose’s beautiful fragrance and stunning appearance, roses hold massive importance in Turkish culture and in life generally.
Roses are included in food, cosmetics, medicinal uses, and as a symbol in poetry and literature.
The rose or Gul as it’s known in Turkish has been blossoming throughout Turkish land and culture for many generations.
Rose water and rose oil have been used in numerous ways by the Turkish people over the years, and is still being used today.
Roses are widely grown in Turkey and used for everything, from perfumes and oils to jams and desserts.
One of the earliest sources of information on rose water production is from Anatolia, where rose water was produced in Nusaybin, near Mardin. Rose water produced in this region is very unique in its fragrance and taste.
The fragrant water was stored in pretty copper jugs or vessels called Kumgans.
These unique jugs are mentioned in historical writings, showing that the Turkish people of the 11th century were producing and using rose water.
These days, most rose products come from Isparta in Turkey’s Mediterranean region.
Isparta is known as the land of roses and lakes, and is a favorite destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts, who enjoy spending their time around ancient ruins, clear seas and in the warm sunshine.
Over the years, Isparta has come to be known as “the rose garden of Turkey.”
Rose breeding and the rose industry as a whole is huge business in Isparta.
From every corner of the city, the sweet aroma of roses growing in the fields can be experienced.
Almost every type of rose- based product, including rose oil, is produced and exported from Isparta. This region produces sixty percent of the world’s rose oil production.
Attend the Rose Festival
With Isparta being known as “the land of roses” it is inevitable for a festival to be held. Organized by Isparta’s Guneykent Municipality, the annual Rose and Harvest Festival is held every year in May.
It allows visitors to experience rose harvesting. Many tourists and locals head out early to the rose fields to help the local farmers.
Visitors to the festival can also take a tour of the factories where the roses are processed. They can observe how the oil from the rose is traditionally extracted.
The festival is held in May but rose harvesting continues until the end of June.
When visiting Isparta, you can of course treat yourself to some locally produced rose products.
Roses and especially rose oil and rose water are known to be beneficial to the skin, tightening, improving wrinkles and helping improve acne.
You can also find rose tea, rose jam and many cosmetic products that contain rose from Isparta.
The Rosa Damascena Mill is the rose species that has the highest value for perfume, cosmetic, pharmacy and food industries.
In Isparta, the first rose plantation was done in 1888 and the first rose oil was produced in 1892 by Muftuzade Ismail Efendi.
The Gulbirlik Rose Company, the biggest rose oil producer in the world is based in Isparta. They have four processing plants handling 320 tons of rose petals daily.
In Turkish history, especially in Divan literature, roses symbolize spirituality, love and sanctity.
The timeless elegance of roses has been celebrated for many centuries and nowhere more so than in Turkey. Often described as ‘bottled sunshine’ rose petals can be used to make very delicious jams and syrups, allowing you to capture the sweetness of the rose all throughout the year.
Being ‘the rose garden of Turkey,’ Isparta offers the opportunity to experience roses through all five senses, but mainly through your taste buds.
Isparta’s Rose jam is extremely popular and is available throughout the city.
Sit back, relax and imagine you are in a field full of beautiful roses, their intoxicating perfume wafting in the breeze.
Roses truly are charming treasures and extremely beautiful whether in a vase or garden. They are known as a symbol of love and romance but also versatile enough to be used in fragrances, essential oils and even cosmetic products.