Stone Nests Articles about Provence

Stone Nests

Stone Nests
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‘Stone nests’ is the name given in modern Provence to ancient village-fortresses situated in the region of Maritime Alps and Cote d’Asur.
 
Various invaders tried to capture this territory from olden times. At first it was the Roman Empire, and later on, in the 8th century (when the Romans couldn’t oppose the attacks after the collapse of the Empire) these were Saracens.

Fleeing from their devastating raids, the people were obliged to leave the coastal valley for mountains. There it was easier for them to fight back dreadful enemies by building settlement-fortresses. Luckily, the stones for building them were plentiful…

The life under new conditions was rather hard; it was far from water sources and fertile land. But the people were working hard, settling into the rocky area.t the people were working hard,s rather hard; it was far from water soufces and furtile land.

Not only dwelling houses, but also churches and abbeys with chapels appeared in the mountains. Religious buildings and structures, which are preserved up to the present, are of great cultural and historical interest even now.

Times were changing, the raids stopped, the inhabitants of the ‘stone nests’ could return to the coast. And gradually the ‘nests’ emptied out.

However, they couldn’t be forgotten, the present-day tourists’ interest for ancient settlement-fortresses gave them a new life!

Several of such settlements were restored by renovators. And quite modern hotels and restaurants were added to ancient fortress structures and small dwelling houses. Today the personnel of ‘stone nests’ dwell in them, and they are considerably fewer in number than tourists coming here within one day only.


Author






As is well known, the famous French writer Emile Zola spent his childhood and youth in Aix-en-Provence.



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