Diplomatic Spectrum was a Co-organizer of the Event, the First to Mark its 5th Anniversary

The event "Bulgaria and Morocco – Countries of the rose", gathered numerous guests on 14th November at the Rose Museum in Kazanlak. It was held at the invitation of the Ombudsman of the Municipality of Kazanlak - Mrs. Ginka Shtereva, and was organized by her, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Bulgaria, Spectrum 21st Century Association, the Rose Museum in Kazanlak and the on-line magazine Diplomatic Spectrum which will celebrate its 5th birthday in December. The emphasis was on the oil-bearing Damascus rose and the rose production on the Bulgarian and Moroccan lands.

Among the guests there were members of the Municipal council from all political parties, Nikolay Ibushev - honorary citizen of Kazanlak and executive director of Arsenal AD, Anna Kozhuharova - director of the Municipal Library, Petya Minekova - director of the National School of Plastic Arts and Design, Antoni Iliev - director of the Vocational High School for Light Industry and Tourism, Momchil Marinov - Director of the Iskra History Museum, representatives of state institutions and municipal administration.

At the entrance, they were greeted according to old Bulgarian custom - with round bread and salt and to an old Moroccan one - with mint tea and sweets.

A multimedia presentation introduced them to the rose-picking process, the Rose Festival and Queen Rose in Morocco. And then the performance of the trio "Kalina" made everyone hold their breath.

As the host of the event Mrs. Ginka Shtereva first welcomed the guests and went on emotionally:

Damascus rose, rose-picking, rose production, Rose Festival, Queen Rose… Bulgaria and Morocco – countries of the rose.

This was the emphasis of my conversation with Her Excellency, Ms. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to our country, next to whom I happened to find myself during this year's Rose Festival. And quite spontaneously, inspired by the magic of the rose, I accepted the challenge of presenting this exotic and colourful country to the citizens of Kazanlak.

The rose - the fragrant flower that shortens geographical distances!

It is also a kind of a way of marking the first year of my new term of office as a Public Mediator of the Municipality of Kazanlak, and a gesture of gratitude to all of you for your commitment to the functioning of the institution over the last six years.

The Ombudsman gave the floor to H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom to Bulgaria.

She shared that with the event the Embassy celebrates the 64th anniversary of the Three Glorious Days - The Return of Late King Mohammed the Fifth from exile, the Renaissance and the Independence Day of the Kingdom of Morocco and the 44th anniversary of the Green March.

E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui presented

the rose and the rose-picking in Morocco

Morocco is the third producer of the Damascus Rose. It grows in the Dades Valley in the south-east of the Kingdom in the heart of the Moroccan High Atlas, whose oases are lit up in the spring by Damascus roses with voluptuous scents. The roses are harvested in April and May then distilled to make essential oil and rose water. Moreover, the Valley of Dades is the 3rd place of cultivation of the rose after Bulgaria and Turkey. The rose is to Dades what lavender is to Provence (France): an emblem of the territory. A jewel of a thousand Kasbahs, the Dades Valley forms one of the most astonishing landscapes in Morocco.

The oral legend says that Damascene Rose, Rosa x Damascena, was carried in the 10th century by a group of Berber pilgrims returning from Mecca. It was probably born in the Middle East, Syria, as her name suggests. It arrived in Europe in the 13th century thanks to the Crusaders. The semi-arid climate and rich mineral soil of Dades, which produces between 3000 and 4000 tonnes of wild roses, gives a unique rose quality, intensely flowery and naturally very concentrated in assets. To resist this desert environment and continue to bloom in the spring, the rose bush develops a great life force, drawing its resources from its very long roots in the depths of the Moroccan land. All this life force goes to the Moroccan rose.

The "Moussem" or the Rose Festival of the Dades Valley takes place after the harvest, in Kelaa M'Gouna, which is six hours’ drive southeast of Marrakech. This small town attracts thousands of foreign and Moroccan tourists from the big cities. On this occasion, the inhabitants put on their finery, splashing each other with rose water and petals. While marching in the streets, they sing while alternating traditional dances like the dance of the sword or the dance of the bee. A single young woman is elected 'Miss of the roses' and circulates on her flowery and decorated chariot. For three days, the stalls offer visitors to discover perfumes and cosmetics and culinary products made from the distillation of rose petals. Initiated under the sign of eco-tourism, this festival is a traditional annual event during which all the inhabitants of the region intend to celebrate the harvest season.

As to the roses in Kazanlak, everyone knows everything about hem here. That is why the rose-picking process was presented as a beautiful dance by the the youth dance formation Arsenal, with leader Mrs. Vanya Mincheva.

All the guests from abroad had the opportunity to learn more about

The Rose Museum and the oilseed rose of Kazanlak

looking at the exponents in the museum. There one can read:

The city of Kazanlak houses the one-of-a-kind Rose Museum. The first exhibitionof the Rose of Kazanlak was opened in 1967, and in 1969 it grew into a Museum of the Rose, which is unique worldwide. Since 2016, it has been housed in a new building in the Rosarium Park and it is part of the Iskra Historical Museum in the city.

The Rose Museum has a rich collection of objects, photographs and documents revealing the history of the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose production. There you can also see tools for processing rose gardens, vessels for storing and extraction of rose oil and water. There are also a reconstruction of a rose oil warehouse and the first laboratory for the purity study of rose oil, created in 1907 by HristoYaramov. This is related to a difficult moment in the history of the Bulgarian rose production when the so-called "tereshe" a fake of the real rose oil appeared. Under the threat of destroying his reputation as the best in the world, Hristo Yaramov's laboratory is a successful attempt to thwart this malpractice.

The oil-bearing rose – Damascus rose mill. f. trigintipetala, was transported to Bulgaria from India via Persia, Syria and Turkey. In the valley situated between StaraPlanina and Sredna Gora, it finds its second homeland. The Kazanlak valley becomes the "Rose Valley". On May 21, 1837, German Field Marshal Helmut von Moltkehas said: "Kazanlak is the European Kashmir, the Turkish Gulestan - the country of roses."

The rose picking lasts around one month - from May 20 to June 20, but depends on the atmospheric conditions of spring. It runs early in the morning from 5 am to 9-10 am. The technology on which is based the production of the famous Bulgarian rose oil is double distillation. In a primitive way, 15 kg of rose petals and 60 liters of pure water are required to fill a cauldron. The process is laborious - 1 kg of rose oil is obtained from 3 000 kg of rose petals, and 1 gram - from 1 000 rose petals. Its price on the international market is about 4000EUR per kilogram.

You can find more at www.muzei-kazanlak.org/

Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova, Editor-in-Chief of the Diplomatic Spectrum and Co-Chair of the Spectrum 21st CenturyAssociation, expressed her joy at the fact that the event in Kazanlak was the first dedicated to

the 5th anniversary of Diplomatic Spectrum

And clarified:

The event is another performance of Spectrum 21st Century Association’s initiative "Show a Tradition! Give a Holiday!" It is organized in cooperation with the diplomatic missions in Bulgaria and numerous Bulgarian institutions and cultural operators.

The initiative aims to show the beauty and diversity of Bulgarian holidays and traditions to the representatives of foreign missions in Bulgaria, and vice versa - of foreign holidays and traditions to the Bulgarian audience. Numerous celebrations have already been held under this motto. For five years now, the media partner of the event has been the online magazine Diplomatic Spectrum - the only publication in Bulgaria that reflects the diplomatic life in all its diversity.

As its editor-in-chief, I am delighted that we are together in Kazanlak for such a beautiful event! I am glad that it is dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the Diplomatic Spectrum as well. I am happy that we will enjoy more beauty together in the show of the wonderful Kazanlak girls who will present the beautiful female national clothes of Morocco - kaftans and takshita.

Queen Rose 2019 put on a Moroccan kaftan

Under the sounds of traditional Moroccan music, beautiful girls from Kazanlak, led by Queen Rosa 2019 - Veronica Kaneva, walked in Moroccan clothes, captivating the audience with subtlety and elegance. For the first time at a similar event in Bulgaria, two little girls were dressed in kaftans.

There was yet another surprise. Ms. Ginka Shtereva provoked the Ambassador and the women in the hall by proposing that three of the ladies present at the event should dress in Moroccan kaftans. And she set an example. The experience was well worth it!

The Ombudsman then invited the guests to visit the specially organized bazaar with souvenirs and traditional crafts from Morocco, including the famous Argan oil and the exhibition revealing the natural and architectural richness of the millennial kingdom.

During the evening, everyone talked lively about how similar the roses, the rose-picking process and the rose production in both countries are. And of course, they commented on the world famous Moroccan cuisine, that they tried thanks to H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui. The delicious dishes were served by students from the Vocational High School for Light Industry and Tourism. They also tasted and discussed the couscous and other specialties with interest. The specialities were accompanied by wonderful Bulgarian wines and natural drinking rose water - Sevtopolis and ReaSevt, produced by local companies, offered by the Ombudsman.

Photos: Ivan Bonev, www.kazanlak-bg.info

Above: Mrs. Ginka Shtereva, Ombudsman of the Municipality of Kazanlak, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco and Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova, Editor-in-chief of "Diplomatic Spectrum" with trio Kalina and the youth dance formation Arsenal

Below: moments from "Bulgaria and Morocco - Countries of the Rose", a Meeting with the Beauty of the Traditions in Kazanluk

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco left the town of the roses with flowers presented on behalf of the mayor of Kazanlak, Mrs. Galina Stoyanova, as well as from the honorary citizen of Kazanlak, Nikolay Ibushev and other citizens, as a sign of gratitude.