A glance at 'City of Roses' in the desert Kingdom

It is rare to see the western Saudi Arabian city of Taif turning pink as the kingdom is known for its vast desert landscape. 

However, when roses bloom in Taif, the entire scenario becomes different. Take a look!

Roses to clean Kaaba

Every year in April, roses are harvested for the essential oil which is then used to clean the outer walls of the sacred Kaaba, the cubic structure in Mecca around which Muslims offer prayers.  

(Photograph:AFP)

Harvest during Ramadan

This year, the harvest has interestingly occurred during the holy month of Ramadan. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Also useful in cosmetic industry

Tens of thousands of flowers and rose bushes are collected each day by the workers at the Bin Salman farm to make rose water and oil.

These are also prized elements in the cosmetic and culinary industries. 

(Photograph:AFP)

City of roses 

Taif is known as the city of roses as it has over 800 flower farms and see each year about 300 million blooms. 
 

(Photograph:AFP)

The process

The work is divided between those who pick flowers and others who fill and weigh them on baskets. 

These are then boiled and distilled.

"We start boiling the roses on high heat until they are almost evaporated, and this takes around 30 to 35 minutes," Khalaf al-Tuweiri, the owner of Bin Salman farm told news agency AFP.

"After that we lower the heat for around 15 to 30 minutes until the distilling process starts, which lasts for eight hours."

(Photograph:AFP)

Oil extraction

The oil is then extracted with a large syringe to fill various vials of varied sizes, the smallest pricing 400 Saudi riyals ($106).

(Photograph:AFP)

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