The city of Kashan, which lies in a desert at the eastern foot of the Central Iranian Plateau, 220 kilometers south of Tehran, was once a popular vacation spot for Safavid Kings.
The city has found fame for its many traditional mansions including the Tabatabaei House,Boroujerdi House, Ameri House and Abbasi House. The most delicate of Persian arts and crafts have been employed in the design and decoration of these mansions. The 10th century Kashan Bazaar with its magnificent lightwells, the heavenly Fin Garden with its Safavid and Qajar bathhouses and the Jame Mosque of Kashan are some of the city’s major attractions.
Kashan is also popular for its rosewater, In Ordibehesht (Mid May to early June), an annual festival of Rose and Rose Water is being held in this city , which is the product of Qamsar, Niyasar and Barzak, smaller towns of Kashan province, and the three main producers of rosewater (Golab) for over 800 years.
Golab (rosewater) is a fragrant distillate of rose which in Iran is used in different traditional dishes to flavor them or consumed as a religious perfume as well. Although there are many modern manufactories constructed to produce rosewater but it is still made traditionally in kashan and around kashan with distillation equipment containing large copper pots with special pipes to obtain herb hydrosol and special oven made by bricks.
In spring, The Ceremony of Rosewater Distillation, flower picking (Mohammadi roses) and extraction of rosewater (Golabgiri), starts when rose buds begin to open. In this season, the whole town is filled with the aroma of roses and rosewater. Before distillation people starts collecting Mohammadi roses and collect their petals to put into the copper pots. Then the pots are put on the oven made from bricks or stones and mud.
Almost every 30 Kg of rose petals are poured into the pot containing 80 liters of water. The pot is then covered to steam the water and rose. The pots include iron or aluminum pipes for the steam moving through to obtain hydrosol.
In the evenings music is played and people sing till midnight, to entertain the visitors and tourists, and to sooth the weary gardeners and their families. The festival is truly worth visiting.