Hundreds of centuries-old olive trees may be found in the Ermionida region, indicating the existence of an historic olive grove. A precise estimate of their age is not feasible because the method of measuring with radioactive isotopes applies only to the heartwood, which is no longer present owing to the trees’ advanced age.
However, the size of the olive tree and particularly its circumference at the base (frequently greater than 10 metres) suggests a life span of at least a millennium. These trees therefore were planted in Byzantine times, have known the Venetians, the Franks and the Ottomans, and of course witnessed the War of Independence of 1821.
Other groves of equal significance, containing olive trees many hundreds of years old, are scattered throughout the Argolid. They are clustered in groups as if they wished to share their memories of all that they have seen.
Most older trees were destroyed by fire in the wars of conquest, although they have also been cut down by local residents in peace-time when their crops failed and the wood was worth more, since with a log of age-old olive wood burning in the hearth one could survive the harshest winter weather.
Thanks to our guide, agronomist-olive grower Evangelos Demarakis, we were able us to take a look at millennial trees in Ermionida’s Agii Anargyri district, where we saw what may be the oldest, in the middle of Prokopios Prokopis’ beautifully tended estate with its orchard of four thousand fruit trees.
- AddressAgii Anargyri district, Ermionida