Rose Gardens, cooperation and Sagalassos Ancient city.
Roses, are the oldest source of perfume.Ancient Sanskrit documents mention rose oil,which is the strongest form of this scent, and in Iliad Homer relates how Aphrodite rubbed Hector’s dead body with rose oil. What was meant by rose oil was not what we mean by this term today, since we learnt from Hippocrates that it was obtained by stirring rose petals into hot olive oil. The method of extracting essential oil of roses was not discovered until much later. The most delightful story told of the discovery of the essential oil relates to the Mughul emperor Jihangir, who is said to have distilled rose water poured into channels in the extensive garden of his palace so that the air was filled with this scent. One day when the emperor’s wife was strolling through the garden she noticed a thin layer of oil on the surface of the rose water an examing it realised that this was where the power of the perfume was concentrated. From that time on she used the oil of distilled rose water for her perfume.
The Isparta area ( ca 150 km north of Antalya) is known of rose cultivation. In May and June villagers are very busy gathering the blooms. Before the sun has risen over the horizon the people set off on their tractors and donkeys to the rose gardens. After gathering the blooms are taken to the local cooperation where rose water, soap and cremes are produced. Until around 25 years ago every household produced its own rose oil but today just a few continue this old tradition where to extract the expensive oil ( for one liter oil you need approximately 4.500 roses ) petals are boiled over a woodfire in stills made by coppersmiths.