Transported to Provence in Israel’s Lavender Fields

The lavender is blossoming on the Golan Heights. On a visit to three local lavender farms makes you imagine for a moment that you are strolling through a meadow in southern France

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Lavender-picking in the Golan Heights.
Lavender-picking in the Golan Heights.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Moshe Gilad
Moshe Gilad
Moshe Gilad
Moshe Gilad

They say that lavender oil has calming properties, that it lowers anxiety and works as a sleep aid. I have no idea if this is true, but I am positive that the sight of a large, blossoming purple meadow offers a generous dose of happiness. The lavender is blossoming on the Golan Heights and can be seen in its prime until at least mid-July.

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This is no wildflower. The lavender is cultivated by local farmers for the purposes of agriculture and tourism. Visitors come to see smell the flowers and learn about the growers’ methods — and imagine for a moment that they are strolling through a meadow in Provence, where it is easy to get lost among the wide fields of purple blossom.

Lavender hung upside down to dry.Credit: Gil Eliahu
A lavender field in Ein Zivan.Credit: Gil Eliahu

There are three lavender farms operating in the Golan Heights. They are scattered from the northern to southern Heights — in Moshav Kanaf, Sha’al and Ein Zivan. Each farm planted a few dunams of lavender, and they are now reaping the rewards.

On each farm a guide explains the cultivation methods, how the oil is extracted, its various uses and how it is employed by the perfume industry. As can be expected, small shops offer essential oils, soaps, tea infusions and smelling sachets, lavender chocolate and sometimes even liquor. Some farms also offer dry weaving workshops. There’s almost nothing you can’t use his small fragrant flower for.

A field of aromatic lavender in Ein Zivan.Credit: Gil Eliahu

The Sadeh family farm in Ein Zivan opened its doors to visitors three months ago. The farm specializes in the cultivation of aromatic species. The family cultivates four species of lavender — two for drying, and two for their extract. Alongside these, the farm cultivates Damask rose, which serves as the base of several perfumes. Visitors can experience flower drying, distillation, extraction, and scent testing. They can enjoy a picnic by one of the tables nestled under the massive oak trees, or explore three 120-year-old Circassian houses in the village.

Lavender infusing water in a cooler.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Lavender after the drying process.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Ayn Ziwan was a Circassian village, lying two kilometers east of where Kibbutz Ein Zivan now sits. The village was named after the ryegrass plant (ziwan in Arabic). It had a population of 1,000 and a few months after the 1967 war, the remaining 100 families or so fled (or were driven out) to Syria. Some of the old village houses as well as structures from the nearby Syrian base are still intact.

Parking and picnic areas along Route 98 and close to Ein Zivan are available in a few locations: The Quneitra-Ronen viewpoint, with views of the Syrian border from a distance of 1 kilometers; an observation point dedicated to soldiers from a Yom Kippur War brigade; and the Avital Volcanic Park parking lot, which has seen better days.

Where: Ein Zivan — Sadeh Aromatic Farm. Moshav Kanaf — Azizo Visitor’s Center. Sha’al — Novix Visitor’s Center. Entry is free by prior arrangement.

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