liquid gold of the Mediterranean
The true genetic origin of the olive tree is not known. However, some say the cultivation of the olive began around 5,000 BC on the Greek island of Crete. Others say its origin began in Syria, Iran and Palestine area. All major civilizations in the Mediterranean, like the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans have spread the fruit to the Mediterranean shores of Africa, Southern Europe and westwards across the Mediterranean Sea.
In the eastern Mediterranean the olive has been an important part of life. It was considered a symbol of peace, wisdom and victory. The Greeks even anointed the winners of the Olympic Games with the oil, other cultures anointed the dead and the Christian church still use it to celebrate special occasions. Olive oil today is widely used in many cultures and religions.
According to the Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena brought the olive to the Greeks as a gift. The tree has been planted on a rocky hill, which today we know as the Acropolis. Amazingly, it is said that the tree there has its roots from the original olive tree. Trees of one thousand years and more old are to be found in Sardinia, Crete, the Greek mainland and Macedonia.
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