Turkish Roses and Rose Oil (Part II) – What it Takes to Smell Great!

Factory Processing into Rose Oil

This is Part II of our story harvesting the Damascena rose from the bush.  Now we get to see the rest of the process.  If you haven’t read Part I, you will want to start there first!

Turkish Roses - Factory

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As we drove back to the factory, we passed cars, trucks, tractors, and even horse carts piled high with rose-filled plastic bags all heading in the same direction to have their roses collected and weighed with the amount being added to their overall payment at the end of the season.

Turkish Roses - Factory

Turkish Roses

Muddy, wet, and sleepy we rolled into Fedan’s. She made breakfast as we sprayed the mud off our boots and took a well-needed hot shower. It was waiting for us on the table, even utilizing her special rose tableware for us. Our morning talk was consumed by what we had experienced, the lives of the pickers, and Fedan’s thriving hostess business, contributing to the income of her husband’s rose factory in her own way.

Turkish Roses - Factory

Fedan’s breakfast consisted of the usual Turkish fixings: bread, cheese, olives, eggs, bread and jam.  We were happily surprised to see the jam we were eating was rose jam, and she had more on the stove-top boiling away.  Before we left she gave us each a few jars as a gift as well.

Turkish Roses - Factory

The old cauldrons ready to boil the petals and the new ones. Even the shape hasn’t really changed that much.

Our plan for the day was to visit the factory and learn about the production of rose attar (the extracted oil).  We started off on a side exhibit.  Here the owners had kept the traditional casks and fire intact just for the purpose of showing how the oil used to be extracted.  To be honest, the machines are newer and probably more efficient now, but the actual process doesn’t seem to have changed that much.  In a nutshell, the petals are collected, separated, dried, boiled, and pressed, extracting the oil.  After which it was put in a cask and sold.  Some of the essence is then turned into other products such as creams and lotions, but there are some folks that like the oil just as it is and are willing to pay the very high price to have it.

The following photos will take you through the entire process.

First, the harvested petals are dropped off in the front yard of the factory, off-loaded and weighed.  After the amount is carefully tallied and recorded, the petals are conveyed to the drying room, and finally put into the boiler.

Turkish Roses - Factory

The drying room was one of the most fascinating parts.  The petals are emptied and for over 24 hours, dried and constantly moved around to aerate them.  The workers throw the petals in the air or rake them over and over.

Turkish Roses - Factory


The first set of boilers are still copper.

Turkish Roses - Factory


Rolling around in a bed of rose petals is something I never thought I would do.

Turkish Roses - Factory


I hope you enjoyed Part I as well.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it go here!  Our next series that takes place in Turkey is How to Buy a Carpet!  We’ll take you inside a Turkish carpet shop and tell you what to expect.  Then we’ll tell you all the ins and outs of getting a good deal on a Turkish carpet!  So stay tuned!

 Have you ever been on a factory tour similar to this one?  What did you learn?  Please tell us all about it in the comment section.




  1. I love the photo of the couple on the horse drawn cart; such a contrast to the world of freeways and traffic jams. If I laid down in a bed of roses – although it sounds heavenly – I’d be sneezing for days on end. 😉 Thanks for sharing such an interesting story!

  2. Oh wow Corinne – your pictures in this post are awesome!! Loved every single one.. That factory must be the best smelling factory ever?! Can just imagine….

  3. The smell of all those rose petals would have been so beautiful. Whenever I see a rose I can’t wait to smell them. I get so disappointed if they don’t have any smell. What a great experience.

  4. Glad I stumbled on Part 1 last week and could not wait for part 2.
    Btw, do you have an idea, say how many Kilograms or pounds are required to make a liter of oil?
    Is all the harvest used for making oil, or are some roses sold as cut flowers?

    1. Rachel, Roses are worth their weight in gold. It takes 4,000 kg of roses to make one kg of oil or 28 roses for one drop! A lot of work! All these roses go for oil…very prosperous!

  5. Well, rose jam is the latest addition to my running list of foods to sample. I’d love to go on a factory tour like this, way to think outside of the box in your travel planning!

  6. Fedan’s breakfast looks delicious! I’ve never tasted rose jam, but we do make rose liquor here in Croatia, and it’s very tasty. I imagine that the smell in and around the factory must be great. Is it?

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