Region of Pazardzhik (Bulgaria)
In the past mining was a major economic sector but current significant economic activities are production of greenhouse fruit and vegetables, distillation of ethereal oils of roses and herbs produced locally, optical lens production and food processing. In agriculture rose and herb production is a traditional activity. The available geothermal springs have traditionally been used for spa and wellness tourism. Additional tourism potential is presented by its rich cultural and historical heritage (a 5th c BC religious complex, Rose Festival, etc.), large forest areas with hunting and fishing zones, unique rock formations.
Rose production for oil is a very typical local activity and specific cultural traditions evolve from this. Over 420 ha of oleaginous roses are cultivated in the municipality which makes Strelcha the largest rose-growing area in Bulgaria. At the end of the spring season every year Strelcha has its Rose Festival which combines the rose blossom picking activity with a number of typical local cultural rituals and events. These evolve from several centuries of tradition and have played a vital role in shaping identity. It used to be an additional source of income for mining families in the past and nowadays it is a single source of income for many. Therefore, rose growing is considered a local cultural value and its traditions are to be preserved and further improved.