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Blooming once a year, Taif’s roses embody region’s heritage

From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (File/AFP)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (File/AFP)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (SPA)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (File/Huda Bashatah)
From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a landmark. (File/Huda Bashatah)
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12 Feb 2024 04:02:54 GMT9
12 Feb 2024 04:02:54 GMT9
  • From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs into a defining landmark

Arab News

RIYADH: For centuries, the meticulous care of roses has been a timeless tradition, passed down for generations in Taif.

Taif is home to the optimal environment for a flourishing rose bush. Admirers of the flower variety cherish its fragrance in the crisp air atop the iconic Mount Ghazwan.

The peaks of the Al-Hada and Al-Shifa mountains, the farms in Wadi Muharram and Al-Talhat, the valleys of Bilad Tuwairq and Al-Makhadah, Al-Mathnah and Waj in Taif stand as vital historical and horticultural sources of the rose.

The region’s landscape has evolved into a heritage symbol that represents the fragrance’s rich history and journey throughout the Kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula — and around the world.

From its humble presence on the highest mountain peaks, the Taif rose has developed over centuries, evolving from sparse shrubs and farms into a defining landmark. With investments exceeding SR64 million ($17 million) in the Saudi market, its farms in Sarawat Mountain cultivate a remarkable 550 million roses annually.

Scattered across Taif are over 910 Taif rose farms, complemented by approximately 70 factories and laboratories dedicated to extracting and producing over 80 sought-after derivatives that enjoy widespread popularity in the markets.

Khaled Al-Kamal, an agricultural expert and Taif rose connoisseur, is a seventh-generation enthusiast as he comes from a family with a long-lasting interest in the Taif rose.

According to Al-Kamal, cultivating the flower and capturing its scent requires a meticulous process involving distillation.

Once roses are acquired from farms, they are deposited into copper pots to initiate the distillation process. These copper pots, which can sustain high degrees of heat, contribute to saving time and effort, enhancing profitability, and helping significantly in the extraction of valuable derivatives.

Al-Kamal explained that the roses undergo a 10 to 12-hour immersion in the copper pots, tightly covered with dome-shaped lids to facilitate steam release. This steam travels through tubes within ceramic coolers containing cold water, where it condenses and forms droplets. Throughout this cycle, distilled rose water is extracted in the initial boiling stage and becomes concentrated attar — a fragrant essential oil.

This concentrated liquid is then introduced to a second pot with a fresh batch, repeating the previous cycle of heating, boiling, and condensation. This produces three distinct products: non-concentrated rose water, concentrated rose water known as “bridal water,” and the world’s most expensive rose attar.

Al-Kamal added that the Taif rose flowers for a period ranging from 40 to 50 days. The rose bush is laden with cones and the blooming roses are harvested daily in the early morning hours.

Once the season reaches its peak, the blooming process gradually decreases until it ends, marking the distinctive characteristic of the Taif rose: a single annual bloom.

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