The Khalafti region, located in southeastern Turkey, is distinguished by the production of roses with a velvety texture, a dark black color and an irresistible aroma. This region is famous for its soil with unique characteristics, most notably the appropriate level of pH. While the buds are dominated by black, the color of the roses when they are fully grown becomes a rich red, like the color of wine. The color of the rose, known as “Karagul” in Turkish, which is characterized by its dense thorns, cannot be preserved anywhere else, according to experts.

Khalfati residents aspire to turn Karagul into a brand because the flower sector in Turkey is a thriving business. The province of Isparta in the west of the country represents the most prominent player in this sector today, and is known as “Turkey’s rose garden”. Turkey, along with Bulgaria, produces 80% of the total rose oil produced in the world.But Devrim Tutus, 28, who lives in my backyard, is beginning to witness the boom in the sector. After developing a business plan aimed at promoting black roses, he is currently supplying Istanbul with rose leaves that are used in the manufacture of perfumes, Turkish sweets and ice cream. Although the demand for these papers exceeded his production capacities, Tutus did not give up his work and plans in the future to manufacture “Karagol wine”. He says that “the markets in Istanbul are many, and they are all teeming with Sparta roses, so why not the Karagul roses in them as well?” And black roses weren’t always in bloom .In the past, a local official who maintains the roses says, residents have been indifferent about them. His friend, who introduced himself as Bulent, adds that “black roses were spread in all the gardens and did not attract anyone’s attention. “The official, who declined to be named, pointed out that “the local residents were not aware of the importance and uniqueness of roses,” adding, “We moved a number of them to higher areas and started producing them in agricultural tents.” Upper Khalfati houses one greenhouse managed by the city’s Agriculture Directorate and includes a thousand black roses.

At the beginning of this century, the residents of the area gathered to save the roses after a dam on the Euphrates flooded the area, threatening to bury the roses, similar to what happened to dozens of archaeological sites that were included in Mesopotamia. The construction of the Bircik Dam in 2000 came as part of a group of development projects in southeastern Turkey that sparked widespread controversy. There are currently twenty types of black roses in the world, including 16 species in Turkey, according to botanist Ali Ekinci. Ekinci, a professor at Haran University in Şanlıurfa province, says, “Karagul is not an endemic species in my background, but the environment, climate and soil that characterizes the region makes the rose acquire a dark black color when it grows,” adding, “If the Karagul rose is planted elsewhere, you wouldn’t be that black.” The professor stresses that the roses that grow in my background are “unique”. He points out that the color of the rose becomes more black and its scent stronger as we move away from Şanlıurfa, which includes my successor, and head towards Syria, whose borders are sixty kilometers to the south. The official in Khalafti explains that roses grow in higher lands because the soil near the dam is characterized by a high acidity due to the waters of the Euphrates River. Ekinci believes that the “Karagole” rose may date back to the black “Louis XIV” rose, which was growing in France in 1859 and named after the French king.

But Frederic Achill, deputy director of the Botanical Gardens at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, considers that there is a great deal of confusion about the topic is unfounded. He jokes, “It may be that Louis XIV’s rose was transformed in the waters of the Euphrates.” My background is also home to unfamiliar green cannabis roses, and although it looks unreal, it’s real and not just an altered photo from Instagram users.Ekinci says that these roses “are still vague in their details. They used to grow in some gardens of the area’s residents. But they did not attract attention because of their lack of smell.”

As for Achille, he considers that these roses do not attract attention “because they are very ugly”, adding that green roses were “arousing curiosity in the rose gardens” after British nurseries brought them to Europe in 1856. But my successor insists on making good use of its actual hidden treasures. On the banks of the dam, some unprofessional gardeners are promoting the black rose among the rows of tourists who take boat tours to see caves that have become submerged.

The production of black roses with a distinctive smell is booming in Turkey – Oman Newspaper’s official website