olive-treeMinoan ideogram symbolizing the olive tree. 

For thousands of  years, the inhabitants of Greece  have cultivated the olive tree and used its products for religious, magical, medicinal and culinary purposes. Thus, it is not surprising that the olive tree is the embodiment of the Greek countryside.


During last year, scientists, environmentalists, cultural associations and the Technical University of  Crete  are trying to locate, catalogue and save hundreds of olive trees, some of them over than 1,000 years old, on the island of Crete.  (It is well known that Crete has been a huge olive producer and exporter of olive oil since the Minoan times.)  The aim of  the associations and scientists is to save the historical trees from abandonment, to make a map of them and a documentary of the Cretan historical olive grove.



  1. Are there any plans to move any of the trees, perhaps to a protected area or arboretum? Or a seed bank? Like California redwoods, the olive trees of Crete sound as if they are living silent witnesses to history and it’s wonderful to hear that there is a concerted effort to ensure that they survive!

  2. T.Noodle, the problem with Crete is that the construction of any buildings, facilities, roads etc. destroys a great part of its natural monuments. Many owners, also, abandon ol. groves or invest in more lucrative cultivations because during last years the price of olive oil is very low.
    The collective effort of the associations focuses, among others, on informing the owners on the importance of historical olive trees. An olive tree almost never dies, since new shoots grow in the dried trunks, but the historical olives are huge trees. The municipality should be obliged to create historical parks, so if an owner needs to cut one of the trees it could be re-planted in the park.

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