Stories and Traditions
Ancient people and especially the Greeks believed that nymphs or other deities lived in the trees, thus turning tree-worship into a key manifestation of religion in antiquity. A case in point, the worship of the sacred beech of Zeus in the oldest oracle of Greece, the oracle of Dodoni, where priests prophesied through sacred beech leaves rustling.
According to Greek mythology, the goddess of vegetation was called “Chloris”, who later became the Roman goddess “Flora”, the world of plants. Mythology itself is the expression of the deep-rooted interest our ancestors felt in the natural wonders. Unsurprisingly, a multitude of plants and trees were either dedicated or associated with deities, heroes, nymphs or monsters.
Votani, the Greek word for herb, was used by Homer to designate the plants of the gods, the sacred trees. From this word derives the term “botany”. From ancient times, Greeks understood the healing properties of many plants, appreciated their value and deified them, considering them a gift of nature to mankind. Centuries have not diminished people’s appreciation for the “pharmacy of nature”.
Cyprus production of aromatic plants is considered to be of particular quality, thanks to the favorable natural conditions: warm weather and clear water.
To date, 1908 different species of wild plants have been recorded in Cyprus, of which, 141 are endemic. Cyprus also hosts more than 400 species of wild herbs, used in a fresh or dry form, but also distilled for essential oils.
Basil, Bay, Rosemary, Dictamnus, Thyme, Fennel, Marjoram, Mint, Capparis, Lavender, Hyssop, Sideritis, Rosa Damascena, Salvia, Origanum, Balm, Tarragon, Mentha and Lemon Verbena are abundant in the Heartland of Legends.
A Story - Apollo and Daphne
Apollo, son of Zeus and Lito, was the God of Light. Not only that, he was also the God of music, poetry and archery. Daphne, daughter of the river God Peneus, was a Naiad nymph renowned for her exquisite beauty and ultimately for catching the eye of Apollo.
The story of Apollo and Daphne starts soon after the Python, the terrorizing great snake, got slain by Apollo with 1000 arrows. Triumphant Apollo got arrogant, boasting and mocking Eros, the God of Love. Infuriated Eros decided to retaliate by unleashing two fateful arrows: a golden arrow struck Apollo and made him fall in love with Daphne, whilst a lead arrow made Daphne hate Apollo.
Daphne, dedicated to perpetual virginity, kept turning down Apollo’s amorous advances incessant pleadings and cajoleries. Daphne, desperate to escape and protect her chastity, implored her father, Peneus who turned her into a laurel tree, ``daphne`` in Greek. Heart-broken at the loss of Daphne and to commemorate her forever, Apollo made the laurel his symbol.
The myth of Apollo and Daphne is depicted on a floor mosaic in the House of Dionysos, at the Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos.
Links to businesses offering the experience
ROUTE AFFILIATED EXPERIENCES
MORE TO EXPERIENCE
Save the date
July: Herbs and Lavender Festival in Platres village
The annual lavender festival gives visitors the opportunity to get acquainted with the lavender traditions by attending workshops and seminars about lavender’s healing properties, but also a large lavender market with more than 25 participants, providing everything lavender related, lavender exhibiting producers in Cyprus and featuring herbalists with live distillation and other activities.
It is also a great opportunity to discover the wonders of the village, to gaze at the picturesque architecture, as well as the majestic pine forest.