Damask roses grown in the town of Qamsar are considered the best, most fragrant and most beautiful flowers in the country.
Every spring, the town of Qamsar turns into a forest of flowers, with Damascus blooms blooming, giving off a fragrant aroma. This is also the time when people in this small area harvested to distill into rose water, supplying the whole world.
From the early morning, people have been on the flower fields, where the morning atmosphere is filled with the fragrance of flowers. Javad Jafari, a town resident, is engrossed in harvesting flowers. His hands were quick to break each cotton with respect and affection before dropping them into a long cloth tied from the waist to the neck.
Like many other rose pickers who are busy in the surrounding fields, Jafari started this job as a boy, now nearly 70 years old. At each harvest, from the end of May to mid-June, he usually gets up from 5am, prays and then fields. This is also the time when the town welcomes a large number of tourists from all over to watch farmers harvest and distill rose water.
When the sun was up, Jafari finished his harvest, with 15 kg of rose petals a day. They were taken to a distillery by a relative. This factory consumes tons of roses each season, the final product is rose water and herbs.
Although today there are many ways to distill perfume by machine, at the factory in town, people still use the traditional methods. Alireza, the son of the owner of a distillery, took the flower bag that Jafari had harvested with the others, then dropped them into a copper pot containing 70 liters of water and cooked it. The amount of distilled water more or less depends on whether you want to use a faint or concentrated perfume.
Despite the harsh economy in Iran, the rose water business is still growing strongly thanks to growing domestic and foreign demand. “We do very well. 50 years ago, there were only five factories producing rose water. Now it has quadrupled,” Alireza said.
Today, Qamsar is one of Iran’s major rose water producers. In addition to distillation, Damask roses are also used in cuisine and therapy. Persians also used rose water to cure headaches and water them on the new graves of the dead. Legend has it that the Prophet Muhammad used rose water to cure and purify the body. Therefore, this flower has another name, after the name of Muhammad, the rose Mohammadi. Also for the same reason that people harvest when they often show respect for the flowers.
Moreover, Damask rose water also plays an important role in religious services. Each year, Mecca in Saudi Arabia imports rose water from Qamsar and anoints around Kaaba (the building located in the center of the mosque’s yard) twice a year.