While most of the roses are taken to the local
cooperative, Ismail and his family take theirs
home and fill the copper boilers of the stills.
To every 100 kilos of petals 240 litres of water
are added, and the wood fired beneath is lit.
Behind the stills is a huge tank of cold water
which is used for cooling the distilled rose
water. The petals are boiled for two hours,
during which time the steam passes through pipes
which run through the tank, evaporating in the
process. The resulting rose water is emptied
into tin containers, each holding 100 kilos.
This rose water is then poured back into the
still while the other petals are still boiling,
and is finally poured into bottles. The oil
which rises to the top is removed using syringes
and poured into separate bottles. It is now
ready for sale to repay everyone for their hard
work. Just 1 gram of rose oil is obtained from
3 kilos of rose petals. In other words, 3 tons
of rose petals must be gathered and distilled
to produce 1 kilo of rose oil. 'Is it worth
it?' we asked Ismail, who replied, 'I have been
doing this work as long as I can remember. I
cannot imagine giving it up.'