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I just came back from Provance in south of France. I've been there few times already, and I am sure there will be more times to come. Ever since I got there first time I fell in love with the place and wanted to come back since. Particularly because of the lavender fields and their amazing fragrance.

The use of lavender has been recorded for more than 2,500 years. Egyptians, Phoenicians and the people of Arabia used lavender as a perfume -- and also for mummification, by wrapping the dead in lavender-dipped shrouds. In ancient Greece, lavender was called "nardus," "nard," or "spikenard" (named for the Syrian city of Naarda) and was used as a cure for everything from insomnia and aching backs to insanity. By Roman times, lavender had already become a prized commodity. Lavender flowers were sold to ancient Romans for 100 denarii per pound -- equivalent to a full month's wage for a farm laborer -- and were used to scent the water in Roman baths. In fact, the baths served as the root of the plant's current name. "Lavender" is derived from the Latin lavare, meaning, "to wash." Romans also used lavender as a perfume, insect repellent and flavoring. They even added dried lavender to their smoking mixtures.

Few plants are burdened with as much folklore and legend as lavender. Some of the stories are contradictory, or at least historically out of sync. One legend says the plant gained its perfume when the Virgin Mary dried the clothes of the baby Jesus on a bush, which from then on was aromatic. However, even before that, Cleopatra was said to use the scent to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Another favorite piece of folklore is that if lavender flowers are placed between bed sheets, spouses will never quarrel.

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Additional Photos by Lucie CzNLUkKw (lucinka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 135 N: 1821] (9976)
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