Taif, Saudi Arabia, April 16 2021: The rose harvesting season in Taif has fallen in the holy month of Ramadan this year and like every spring season, this year has also seen large swathes of the vast desert kingdom turn a vivid pink.
Every year in April, the rose growing city of Suadi Arabia, Taif turns into a rose haven and the flowers are harvested for use in essential oils which are also used to cleanse the walls of the Holy Kaaba, the building in the direction of which Muslims all around the world turn to pray. A month primarily focused on prayer and reflection, the fasting month this year will also see workers at the Bin Salman farm tend rose bushes and pick tens of thousands of flowers each day to produce rose water and oil, prized components in the cosmetic and culinary industries.
The popularity of the perfumed oil has exploded over the years particularly amongst the millions of Muslims who visit the kingdom every year for pilgrimages. An integral part of Islamic Art, patterns of plants and flowers have long adorned Islamic structures and buildings of cultural importance throughout Islamic history.
Taif which is also known as the city of roses, with approximately 300 million blooms each year has more than 800 flower farms, many of which are open to visitors.
Some workers pick flowers in the fields, while others spend their days in sheds, weighing and filling, processing and packaging. The flowers are boiled at high heat for 35 minutes followed by 30 minutes for distillation at lower heats, according to Khalaf al Tuweiri the owner of Bin Salman farm.
The extraction process than begins, once the oil floats to the top of the glass jars. The oil is then extracted with a large syringe to fill different-sized vials, the smallest going for 400 Saudi riyals, the equivalent of $106.
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