An Olive Grove in Crete Featuring Age Long Trees

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old olive treeLagoudaki Brothers from Agia Varvara try to save and preserve the old olive trees that lie on their land. They have decided not to uproot these historical trees, which have survived even the German occupation, although they occupy a large part of their land.

The oldest and most historical tree of the area is left intact so as to remind the visitors and by-passers that Cretan history is indispensably related to the cultivation of olive trees.

Theodoros and Antonis Lagoudakis from Agia Varvara own an olive grove situated on the old road from Heraklion to Phaistos. The trees existing in the grove are old, featuring a history of thousands years, as demonstrated by their trunks.

During the German Occupation, Germans planted ammunition in the area; they blew up everything prior to their shameful departure from Crete. They hid ammunition in the trunk of this oldest olive tree; it was blown up but managed to survive. It flourished and bloomed again.

In 1961, this tree produced more than 140 kilos of olive oil and it is still alive. Brothers Lagoudaki emphasize that they refuse to remove it, due to its historical value.

Brothers Lagoudaki have decided to preserve the historical grove even though many of the trees could still hide some of the ammunition planted there. They decided to graft and examine most of them, leaving, the central one intact, as it stands lofty and imposing, intriguing the numerous visitors. According to them grafting is a solution, as it helps preserve the old trees and enhance their productivity.

Motivation is needed to preserve the historical olive trees

Theodoros and Antonis Lagoudakis were informed on the initiative of several cultural associations, such as Venerato, Siva, Amari and Avgeniki, to preserve the historical olive trees in Crete. They suggest that these initiatives are of significant importance, as no one believes that these trees should vanish.

They say, though, that initiatives are great, but cannot stand alone; additional motivation is required. The olive oil producers should gain something, or be compensated for deciding to preserve the trees, even though they take so much space in the fertile land.

‘I feel sorry for the old trees. But some farmers do not have an alternative if they want to increase their productivity. Sometimes they call me to uproot them. I feel sorry. but I don’t have any other option, says Mr. Zacharias Ninirakis and continues: ‘I wish the state could think like the cultural institutions. We would save a lot of things in Crete, not just olive trees’.

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