The Ancient Olive Tree of

Azorias

Azorias olive tree
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The legendary olive tree in Azorias is located 1km south of the village Kavoussi and very close to the archaeological site of Azorias, on the road leading to Avgos settlement. This olive tree is a natural monument; it is considered to be the oldest olive tree in the world. It belonged in 2008 to George Grammatikakis and it is a tree of Olea europea, of the variety mastoeidis, locally named "mouratoelia". Indeed, it is grafted on a rootstock of a wild olive tree, making it the oldest sample of grafting in the world. 

The olive tree has been declared by the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities as a natural monument because of the large size of its trunk and because of its location near the three ancient settlements Vrondas, Kastro and Azorias, where several artifacts related to olive oil processing have been revealed by the archaeologists. The maximum diameter of the trunk is 4.9m 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!

In 2004 the municipality of Ierapetra,  where it belongs, suggested that the first winner of the Women's Marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 would be wreathed by a branch (cotinos) if the wild root stock of Azorias tree. Indeed, the olive branch was cut at a special ceremony and used in the women's marathon.

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