Have you ever entered a building filled with history? A building with a spirit that brings you back in time. At the same time related to the ‘liquid gold’ of Bulgaria: the Bulgarian rose oil.
Hidden in between the small streets in the centre of Sofia, the State laboratory Bulgarian rose will fascinate the history and architecture lovers.
The history of the building dates from 1935 when it was the office of the Bulgarian agricultural and cooperative bank. This is the time of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom when Bulgaria is a monarchy. Our King Boris III with a decree sets the rules for the production and sale of rose oil. During this time the Bulgarian agricultural and cooperative bank is the exclusive buyer and distributor of rose petals to the cooperative unions and rose producers.
Today in the time of democracy you have the freedom to choose whether you go to a private rose farm in the countryside. They have modern facilities but keep in mind that some of the rose farms are becoming commercial. The other option is this hidden gem in the centre of Sofia: State laboratory Bulgarian rose.
The state laboratory has a small team of 5 employees. Today the laboratory does analysis and control on the quality of the rose oil, produced by various private rose farms.
Into a special vault the laboratory preserves the essential oils for its customers. You can also buy rose oil and cosmetics of best quality in their shop.
You can experience the Rose festival in Bulgaria every year in the end of May and the beginning of June. We go in the morning in the fields and pick the rose petals with hands. There is traditional music and costumes and in the end of the festival we choose our Rose queen.
The actual rose harvest happens very early in the morning from 5:00 until 9:00 because this is the time when roses are richest in oil. For the production of 1 litre of rose oil we need 3-4 tons of rose petals. The process is a double distillation process and the ready rose oil is often used in the famous perfumes. It has also cosmetic and health purposes. You can put one drop in your face cream to keep your skin young.
Alternatively, if you have stomach or kidney problems, you swallow one drop of rose oil on a piece of sugar or in a spoon of honey daily. This explains the price: 1 gr of rose oil costs around EUR 10. But the Bulgarian rose oil does not have expiry date. You can keep it in the fridge and it gets frozen but it doesn’t go bad.
If you want to visit an authentic building in Sofia and buy rose oil and cosmetics from one of the few state producers left, join our tours and we will bring you there. Let’s travel together back in time…