Monday, October 3rd, 2016 at
Did you know that a lot of little pleasures of today have rather stinky origin? Saying “stinky” we assume the most literal meaning of this word you can possibly imagine. Just think about perfume and elegant wide-brimmed hats: where you think the ideas come from?
Both these things originate from medieval Europe, and were nothing else but the protection from anti-sanitary environment. Strong perfume was used to compete with the stinky odors, which were usual even in royal palaces, as with all the gold and luxury the residences of royalty and aristocracy did not have such things as bathrooms. Moreover, it was considered immoral and unhealthy to bathe, and a lot of people were washed only twice in their lives: at their birth and death.
Elegant wide brims of the hats have a similar story behind. In medieval cities and towns all the home waste was just dumped out of windows. If you were not attentive or quick enough, it could all land on your head, so these hats were invented as the means of protection.
At the same time in Russia the hygienic standards were almost like that. For instance, if you visit one of the Russian palaces, you can find strange sticks on the toilette tables beside a mirror. They were usually made of porcelain or gold and silver, but used for something not romantic at all. Those fancy hairstyles you see on the old portraits were inhabited by flees, so the noble ladies and gentlemen used the sticks to scratch their heads. Besides, they had pretty little porcelain boxes to put there flees they caught. What a peculiar medieval alternative to the modern toy dogs!
When you think of old times in this perspective, you probably are thankful that you were born and raised in the modern world with running water in every home. However, these are some facts that bring you closer to the old aristocracy and prove that they were humans just like us.
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P.S. We are not equipped with a time machine to bring you back to the times of the Tzars and give you a chance to see them in person. However, we have another interesting offer for you: what about coming to St Petersburg at half price next year and visiting all those royal palaces? You are also most welcome to tell your friends about it, or share on the forums you visit, so more people have the opportunity to walk around the palace halls, which are nowadays clean and shiny.
Safe travels and bright impressions anywhere you go!