Located at the foot of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco,
the Valley of Roses is a stark contrast to the barren desert that surrounds it
– a sea of pink Persian roses and lush green hedgerows carpet the area.
The roses have helped to create one of Morocco’s finest
exports, rose oil and rose water, bringing wealth and success to this otherwise
desolate area of Morocco. In celebration of the harvest, a Rose Festival is held
every May in the area’s only settlement, El Kelaa M’Gouna, which is a hit with
locals and tourists alike.
As the area’s only town, El Kelaa M’Gouma plays a
significant role in the production of rose water, and is home to two enormous
rose water factories, meaning the scent of roses is always lingering in the
air. Although the Valley has over 4,200km of rose hedges, only around 1400
litres of rose water are produced from this – it takes around 300,000
kilogrammes of rose petals to create a litre of rose oil. Rose oil and rose
water are therefore luxury commodities, desired not only for their fragrance
but also the unique floral flavour they add to local dishes.
The festival takes place in the heart of El Kelaa M’Gouna,
and offers a unique experience celebrating the virtues of roses as well as
cultural traditions. An enormous souk opens in the town, selling not only all
kinds of rose products but also a wealth of other locally-made arts, crafts and
products. Musicians and dancers will also be livening up the spirit by
providing some lively street entertainment. The main event is the crowning of
the Rose Queen, who will reign over the successful harvest and is celebrated in
a special ceremony.
If you’re looking to explore the amazing scenery, culture
and traditions of Morocco, visit our website to browse our range of villas and
luxury riads in Morocco.