ORIENT MEETS OCCIDENT
Where else on earth do so many different cultures and religions meet than in the Mediterranean?
The history of the Mediterranean is one of the oldest of humanity. Once the cradle of human civilization, today an important center in the world. First civilizations arose about 5,000 years ago along the Nile and in the Levant. Both agriculture and urban culture have spread from there to Europe. Modern science, philosophy and the democratic state have their roots here, making the region the cradle of the Western culture today.
About 3000 years ago, the Greeks began the colonization of the western and northern Mediterranean area. Centuries ago, the Orient and the Occident met here and exchanged valuable commodities such as gold and jewels, as well as everyday goods. There was a lot of activity and wars very often changed the borders and the distribution of power. Many testimonies of history are still visible today in many parts of Europe, especially in terms of architecture and traditions.
In the Middle Age, Arab states preferred to build their granaries in Spain and Sicily, while the Romans moved to North Africa. Through the sailors and traders from all over the world the cultures and their lifestyles slowly mixed with each other and a multi-faceted mix was created that is still unequaled today. From the rough Atlantic coast over modern metropolises of southern Europe to mysterious countries from 1001 Nights in the Middle East. From the snow-capped Alps to the hot expanse of the legendary deserts of North Africa, you will find a fantastic variety, culinary authenticity and thousands of years of history.
The Mediterranean Sea gets its name from the Latin. As Mare Mediterraneum, it refers to the sea between the earths. The Romans even called it Mare Nostrum, which means our sea. As the largest inland sea in the world, it connects the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar across the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. Jordan and Portugal do not even have a coastline on the Mediterranean, but are still counted for climatic and cultural reasons to the Mediterranean countries.
The northernmost point is in Veneto at the foot of the Alps and the westernmost at Cabo da Roca near Lisbon. In the east the area borders the Syrian desert and in the south on the Sahara.
The entire Mediterranean region encompasses far more countries than you might think!
Its territory spans three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia.
Europe includes Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and European Turkey.
Asia includes Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus.
The African region includes Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
But what connects them all is the olive tree!
It’s considered the typical plant of the Mediterranean and grows mainly in these countries. Therefore, it is also spoken of the olive tree border to clarify the demarcation to the surrounding areas.
The olive tree belongs to the Oleaceae family and is the oldest known cultivated tree on Earth. With a lifespan of around 300 to 400 years it is considered sacred by the people of the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Worldwide, there are about 750 Million olive trees with 1000 varieties.
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The Mediterranean is one of the cleanest, nicest, happiest and healthiest place to live on Earth, thanks to a balanced lifestyle, beautiful nature and exceptional climate.
Originated from the healthy eating habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Southern Italy, Spain and France, the Mediterranean diet is perhaps the world’s healthiest diet.