Messinia, land of the olive
Some of the earliest traces of the olive and its oil have been uncovered in Messinia. Ancient amphorae painted with images depicting the harvesting of the olive fruit, olive oil storages, plaques with Linear B ideograms of the olive tree and its oil that have been unearthed at Ancient Pylos prove that Messinia is one of the oldest homes of the olive tree. With significant later-day monuments of the olive-tree culture and vast olive groves with over 15,863,000 olive-trees, the importance of the olive-tree cultivation in Messinia continues to be great to this day. The olive oil constitutes an agricultural product of vital importance for the entire region.
Short Journeys into the History and Culture of the Olive Tree (November – February)
Organized one-day or two-day trips during olive harvest in the Messinia countryside to watch the collection and processing of the olives. This is a novel proposal to get acquainted with the beloved tree and the culture surrounding it, but also the recent history and traditional products of the region. The trips include a tour of the beautiful olive groves of the Messinia country side during the olive harvest, visits to traditional olive presses to watch how the olive oil is produced, as well as to significant industrial monuments of the region connected with the processing of the olive-tree fruit; the trips also include meals featuring traditional dishes and a demonstration how home-made soap is made with olive oil.
Capital city of Messinia and a leading olive producing region, home of the world-famous “Kalamata Olives”! By the end of the 19th century there were approximately 20 olive presses operating in the city which flourished mainly thanks to the production and trading of the olive oil. Today, most of them have been relocated to the countryside and only two are still in operation in the area near the Castle. It is there, at the city’s historic centre, where one can find many items related to the uses of the olive and its oil or visit the “Age-old Olive Tree of Kalamata” (Olive Institute, Laconikis Street).
a beautiful village with one of the rare traditional olive presses.
a quaint town of the Messiniac Mani dominated by the splendid “Lakeas Olive Press – Soap Manufacturing”. Once an important industry that flourished in the early part of the 20th century, it stands in abandonment today.
Pyrgos Lefktrou Manis:
a beautiful area with an innovative olive press.
Doloi – Kalamata:
A stretch crossing the Messinia olive groves, a landscape of unique natural beauty.
Chora – Ancient Pylos:
A visit to Nestoras Palace where some of the most ancient traces of the olive have been unearthed.
a port with significant olive-oil exports dating back to the 18th century, mainly destined for Marseilles where they supplied the city’s renowned soap manufacturers.
The “Short Journeys into the History and Culture of the Olive Tree” is a pilot project organized in Messinia by the Network of Olive Producing Cities in Greece (DEPE) within the framework of “Olive-tourism” program taking place with the participation of olive producing countries of the Mediterranean joining efforts towards solutions for the support of thematic tourism. Comparable proposals are in the phase of development soon to be completed also for other olive-producing regions in Greece always at DEPE’s initiative.