“Minoans have rested in the shade of some of our ancient olive trees. Their trunks have experienced many invasions and their roots have been soaked in blood, sweat and tears. They have nourished our ancestors; they have lived through and accompanied many generations, including many of us.
They stand as irrefutable evidence and living witnesses to our history. They have much to tell us. We often walk beside them. Let us hear them speak. Let us make them a gift for our children and grandchildren, let us give them a chance to love and be loved.”
It is our heritage and our culture
Many ancient olive trees exist in modern Crete, some of them dating back to Minoan times. The oldest olive tree is estimated to be the Kavousi Olive Tree in the prefecture of Lasithi. The tree is dated from the 15th century B.C. The perimeter of its base is 22.10m, the diameter at the base is 7.10m, at an elevation of 252m. There are hundreds of ancient olive trees spread throughout the prefecture of Lasithi, often forming groups of individual olive groves. Many of them date back to Minoan times, others were planted (or grafted into a trunk of a wild olive tree) during Roman times and others, when the Venetians came to Crete, in the 13th century A.C.
Except for the love, with which their owners embrace them, these trees are not protected by the state, resulting in the uprooting of some of them to make greenhouses or in them being chopped for firewood.
As part of our effort to enhance our cultural heritage, we began a programme to register ancient olive trees in order to protect them and get them visited. We do this by placing the marking plates needed and by planning routes. Moreover, we stage events (such as day conferences, musical events) to raise the awareness of the local population.
Program manager, Pavlos Daskalakis tel. 0030 6932403188