The Ancient Olive Grove of


Gortyn ancient Olive Grove
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Between the villages Agii Deka and Mitropoli there are the ruins of ancient Gortyn. Gortyn was the largest and most populous city of Crete during the Roman era. Apart from the monumental evergreen plane tree of Gortyn, where Zeus mated with Europa, at the same place we meet another important monument of nature.

This is the monumental olive grove of Gortyn occupying a huge area and has centuries-old olive trees. A walk through the historic grove contains many sites of archaeological interest and natural beauty. The tour starts on the main street to Mires. Everywhere around we find piles of stones that once were parts of buildings, scattered fragments of ancient walls, scattered pieces of pottery and fallen pillars.

The olive grove reaches the famous temple of the Egyptian Gods, the Praetorium and the temple of Apollo. Each olive tree by nature and is a unique piece of art and each one is spectacular with special trunk and shape.

The most unique of all is the so-called Monumental Olive of Gortys having age of 16 centuries. The important fact that makes the Olive of Gortyn so special compared to other monumental olive trees of Crete is the fact there is and embedded Roman column in the trunk of an olive tree. This specific olive tree with the pillar has been declared by the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities as a natural monument. Obviously, the column was once placed in a trunk cavity but then the tree grew and caged it. The variety of the olive tree is called hontroelia grafted on a rootstock of a wild olive tree.

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