It has been a while since my previous visits to Kashan and its surrounding towns, the last being sometime in May 2006. Yesterday, we revisited the city, the epitome of everything that is typically Persian. Leaving Tehran early in the morning, this time around we continued on our journey to Qamsar and only stopped briefly in Kashan for our lunch later.
Located about 31 kilometers south of Kashan, the town of Qamsar is most famous for its roses, rosewater and rose perfume. Qamsar, together with three other smaller towns of Niasar and Barzook in the Esfahan province, are the main producers of rosewater in Iran for well over 800 years.
Every year during the second half of May, visitors from all over Iran flock to Kashan and the towns of Qamsar and Niasar to witness the rosewater extraction festival. This unique tradition, peculiar only to Kashan and the surrounding towns, particularly Qamsar, usually begins with the flower picking ceremony just before dawn. When we arrived in Qamsar it was already mid morning, so we missed the most interesting part of the ceremony. However, we were fortunate enough to have been invited to observe the process of rosewater production at two of the town's small extraction centres.
Although many modern mechanised factories have been built, a large part of rosewater production Qamsar is still carried out traditionally in homes and gardens such as the two places that we visited. This clearly indicates the uniqueness of the festival centred mainly on its cultural, artistic and social aspects.
Qamsar's rosewater is made from a special rose called "damask rose." It has a very distinctive flavor and is used heavily in Iranian cuisine and sweets. At times, it is also mainly used as a perfume, both in joyous and mourning occasions. According to the local, there are three different qualities of rosewater produced, all depends on the freshness of the flowers. The first extraction is usually of high quality and is much in demand by international and national cosmetic companies. The other two are used for culinary and other purposes.
The world famous rosewater of Qamsar-e Kashan is already globally renowned, especially among Muslims because the holy Ka'ba in Mecca is washed with this water during the annual Haj pilgrimage. And the high quality essential oil from Qamsar's "damask rose" are also exported to countries such as France and Bulgaria for their perfume-making industries.
As for me, what I like most about Qamsar's rosewater is its aroma and great flavor used in my favorite Persian famous saffron pistachio ice cream...
Besides its lush rose gardens, the green villages of Qamsar also offers enchanting landscape. The pleasant and refreshing climate of Qamsar, the blossoming of almond and other fruits added to the beauty of the villages and the town and indeed the popularity of the festival too.
the town with its natural landscape and beauty...