Landscape is the projection of the soul of every people onto matter, wrote Odysseas Elytis in Public and Private. Culture is therefore the epicentre in the formation of space and landscape and consequently all landscapes are cultural.
Until the mid-20th century, when folk culture prevailed before the industrial era took over, the natural and built landscape of the country, particularly on the islands and in rural centres, mainly reflected the production and processing of food. The windmills and watermills, the dovecotes, winepresses, the storerooms and wineries, the oil presses and all the means used in the transport of foodstuffs, from caiques to barrels, clay pots and baskets are part of the country’s gastronomic culture.
The vineyards of Santorini, Nemea or Naoussa, the Mesolonghi lagoon, the olive grove of Amphissa and the lentil fields of Englouvi on Lefkada, the bean fields of Prespes, the estates of the Kambos on Chios with their citrus orchards are all examples of typical landscapes that bear the stamp of their cultivations.
The archaeology and folklore of Greece with their wealth of ceramic vessels, the specialized museums dedicated to the Olive founded by the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Piraeus in Sparti and Lesvos, the many museums devoted to winemaking, like the Koutsoyiannopoulos on Santorini, Boutaris in Macedonia, Gerovasiliou in Halkidiki, are places where the visitor can form a clear image of the history of olive oil and wine.
All these sights in Greece – landscapes, buildings, museums – are integral parts of each region and complete its gastronomic image.