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In the name of the rose

Ιf you want to learn more about the king of flowers, go to Agros where, for the past several years, the Rodon Hotel has organised a special event dedicated to the famous rose of the region every May. Μuch admired and with an exquisite fragrance, the rose is the symbol of love, charm and much more.
In antiquity, the kings of Persia would wear scented laurels of jasmine, violets and, of course, red roses. The process of preserving rose flowers was developed in Persia. These were first dried and the petals placed in airtight vases and opened only in exceptional cases. And as Homer says in the Iliad even Achilles’ shield was decorated with roses.

Sweet rose petals
The rose has also inspired confectioners throughout the centuries. Even grannies in the village would make glyko tou koutaliou (a syrupy sweet) with the wild rose petals from their back garden while the delicious rose glyko from Agros remains famous to this day.

rose 1

Rose water
But why Agros? Simply because the most beautiful and fragrant roses flourish in this enchanting village in Pitsillia.
Local producers use them to make the famed rose water of Agros which is used widely in Cypriot cooking and especially traditional confectionery. The rose water is mostly made from the Damascus rose, a fine example of the rose family, which owes its widespread presence to a famed Agros personality, Nearchos Clerides.
It was thanks to him that this specific type of rose, distinct for its special fragrance and particularly suitable for the making of rose water, became widespread in the village. Every May, rose cultivators collect about half a million buds very early in the morning, as the leaves are still damp from the morning mist. These flowers flood the areas with a fragrant scent. Residents of Agros and nearby communities use the sap to produce rose water, as well as rose oil, liqueur and brandy.

rose 2

In order to seduce Mark Antony, Cleopatra covered the floors of the palace and of her bedroom with rose petals, while rose water spouted out of the fountains. As for the rose water produced from the wild pink roses of Agros, it is used not only to add extra fragrance to sweets and the traditional mahalepi (which is served with rose cordial syrup), but is also an excellent tonic for the skin. Use it therefore as a lotion on your face for a fresh, soft feel.
Traditional rose products from Agros may soon receive EU protected status. Pending before the Advisory Committee of the Agriculture Ministry are applications submitted from Agros to register rose water under PDO (protected designation of origin) rules and the syrupy rose sweet under PGI  (protected geographical indication) rules.

Pitcher of Red Beverage --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Pitcher of Red Beverage — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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