Ruins of a kasbah in Kalaat M'Gouna, Morocco
© Leonid Andronov/Getty Image
Morocco in bloom
Millions of roses are harvested in May and June each year in the Dades Valley of Morocco, known as the Valley of Roses. (It's also called the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, for the many traditional fortresses found here.) The Asif M'Goun River flows from high in the Atlas Mountains, bringing water to the lush valleys below.
We’re looking at the town of Kalaat M'Gouna, the center of the rose harvest each spring, when thousands of pounds of roses are plucked from the valley's abundant bushes. Their fragrant petals are used to create the oil that goes into a potpourri of perfumes, creams, and other products that are for sale in local bazaars. No one knows how the roses originally appeared here, but it's said that a traveling merchant from Damascus, Syria, first brought them to the region hundreds of years ago, which gave the local rose its name: Damask.