Damascus Countryside, The Damask Rose (Damascene Rose or Rosa Damascena) is not merely an important economic agricultural product, but a part of the heritage and history of the inhabitants of the mountainous region of Qalamoun, north of Damascus, particularly in the village of al-Mrah.
Beyond being known for its heady fragrance, the Damask Rose is described as the queen of flowers and the ambassador of Syria to the world
Named after Damascus, the Damask Rose, has long been used for rose oil or attar of roses, and is commonly used to flavour food and make rose water.
The intense smell of the famed rode, associated with a bygone era of romance and Arab grandeur, fills the foothills of the Qalmoun mountain range north of Damascus.
In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of women, men and children go to the lands around al-Mrah village to pick up Damascene rose in a scene that goes back to more than 800 years ago.
The farmers expected that the production this year will be between 30 and 35 tons thanks to a good season of abundant rains.
In addition to its natural beauty and spiritual value, the rose has medical, cosmetic and economic uses as its products are considered a vital source of income for farmers of the village who work throughout winter to prepare the lands for planting in spring.
Head of al-Mrah Association for Promotion and Development of Damask Rose, Madyan Bittar, revealed that, since 2015 and thanks to the government's efforts, the cultivation of the rose has experienced a remarkable improvement.
Creams, perfumes, rose water and more than 20 medical and cosmetic products are made from the Damascus rose, Bittar said.
A plant for the production of products derived from the rose will be opened soon in the Industrial City of Adra, near Damascus, he added.
Its production will cover needs of the local market and also will be exported abroad, Bitar said.
Although the Damascene Rose does not need much irrigation if there is enough rainfall, but during the last decades the percentage of rainfall and snow decreased, which increased the suffering of the farmer due to low and variable rate of production according to rainfall rate.
The importance of this rose lies in the fact that it is used in various industries, mainly rose oil, rose water, and jam, among others.
The cultivation of the Damask Rose became more prominent after the care shown by the state to this crop.
Every year, all people in al-Mrah participate in the process of picking the Rose which is transformed into annual festival called Damascene Rose Harvest Day festival.
Source: Syrian Arab News Agency