Monumental and ancient Olive Tree of Kavousi.


The olive has been an integral part of life in the East of Crete and from the first stirrings of civilisation olive trees and olive oil are closely connected to the East Cretan mythology. They have influenced its history and tradition, its religion and the social and economic life of the East Cretan people dating back more than 8.000 years.


Olive groves cover a large area of East Crete, dominating its natural environment and creating major employment for many of the local agricultural population. Each year an average of 40.000 tons of olive oil is produced in East Crete. Among the Olive trees of East Crete, exist some of which can be characterized as “Monumental or Legendary”.


One of them is situated just above Kavousi, a small village 26 km east of Agios Nikolaos and 42 km west of Sitia. It belonged in 2008 to George Grammatikakis and it is a tree with the botanical name Olea Europaea, meaning "European olive”. The maximum diameter of the trunk which is intensely embossed and uniquely beautiful, is all around 4,9 m and the circumference is 14,20 m.


Based on the method of annual rings, it is estimated that the tree was planted in the period 1350-1100BC. This olive tree is considered as the most ancient Minoan tree and most probably is the oldest in the world. It is surrounded by four nearby ancient and archaeological settlements: Vrontos, Plai tou Kastrou, Azoria Acropolis and Kavousi, which dates from A.D. 4700, since when it has been continuously inhabited and where several artefacts related to olive oil have been found.


This olive tree has survived countless battles, invasions, wars and political crises and is actually a minor celebrity. Suggested by the inhabitants of Ierapetra, the tree gave a few of its young branches, cut at a special ceremony to the 2004 Olympic games. They were used to make a wreath which was presented to the female winner of the marathon.


#Ancient #Olives

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