These stunning black roses would make excellent props in a movie about witches and black magic, or in a heavy-metal video. There’s something extremely attractive about them, in an intense sort of way.
Although they appear perfectly black, they’re actually a very deep crimson color. These flowers are seasonal – they only grow during the summer in small number, and only in the tiny Turkish village of Halfeti. Thanks to the unique soil conditions of the region, and the pH levels of the groundwater (that seeps in from the river Euphrates), the roses take on a devilish hue. They bloom dark red during the spring and fade to black during the summer months.
The local Turks seem to enjoy a love-hate relationship with these rare blossoms. They consider the flowers to be symbols of mystery, hope and passion, and also death and bad news. Unfortunately, the black roses of Halfeti are an endangered species. They have been under threat of extinction ever since the residents of the village moved from ‘old Halfeti’ in the 1990s, when the Birecik Dam was constructed.
Old Halfeti and several other villages were submerged under the waters of the Euphrates, when the dam was made. The new Halfeti village was re-built on the grounds of Karaotlak village, merely 10 kilometers from its former location.
This short distance proved fatal for the beautiful black roses. The villagers replanted them in their new gardens, but the flowers didn’t take to their new environment very well. There was a steady decline in the number of black roses grown in the region.
The district officials have made efforts to save the roses. They collected seedlings from village homes and replanted them closer to their original surroundings in greenhouses. They have been doing slightly better, ever since.
Seeing a black rose in full bloom is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. Don’t miss it if you ever happen to be in Turkey during the summer!