Tales of the Bulgarian Rose

 "Tales of the Bulgarian Rose," a photojournalistic journey into Bulgaria's rose industry, is now on display at Rod Library until December 19. A reception will be held on November 7, 5:30 pm - 7 pm, with artists' comments and light refreshments.

Undertaken in 1997 by UNI instructor Rick Truax and UNI professor Anelia Dimitrova, this documentary project chronicles Bulgaria's transition to democracy through the lives of those that worked in the country's iconic rose industry. The exhibit is a snapshot of a critical time in Bulgaria's history as it navigated the uncertain path to economic reform eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Brought to Bulgaria in the 13th century from Persia and Syria, the rosa damascene flower is harvested for the oil it bears. This essence is a hard-won commodity. One ounce of it requires 150,000 petals, which are handpicked over a month each summer. A liquid ounce of Bulgarian rose oil is more expensive than an ounce of gold, making it, literally and figuratively, a gold standard. It is the most coveted oil used in the perfumery and cosmetics industry.

"Tales of the Bulgarian Rose" is told in 33 curated photographs, updated weekly. Fifteen will be displayed at a time.


Richard Truax