I've mentioned before that I love roses. One of my favorite things is to stumble on wild roses in the mountains. There are several variety of roses that originated in Central Asia and there is evidence that the rose itself originated there.
The most interesting article I found about roses in Central Asia was on farmers in Afghanistan switching from growing opium poppies to roses. I'm looking forward to getting to know some new roses in Kyrgyzstan.
A few of my favorite books on roses are:
Roses by Peter Beales (out of print)
100 Old Roses For The American Garden by Clair Martin
100 English Roses for the American Garden by Clair Martin