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The largest and oldest Olive tree

Not far from the temple of Demeter, at the beginning of the gravel road that leads to the fortress of Apalírou, there is an ancient spring (Brysi Adisárou) in a small valley covered with plane trees.

The small path leads to the spring of Adisarou.

The ancient spring has recently been restaured. It carries water all year round.

Nearby lies this small, new chapel dedicated to St Isidore.

The real attraction here is an ancient olive tree, the diameter of which exceeds by quite a bit that of the allegedly oldest olive tree in the world in Kolymbari in Crete, but also of other large olive trees that can be found on the internet. Our tree is completely hollowed out, as is often the case with old olives. Nevertheless, it is still easy to see that the former trunk diameter must have been over 5 metres. In the other direction, it even measures over 10 metres! However, given the current situation, it is no longer possible to be completely sure whether it is one tree or possibly two trunks that have grown together; to be able to judge this for sure, the roots would have to be dug up. The circumference of the entire giant is almost 24 metres.

And here is our gigantic olive tree. Inside, the giant is completely hollowed out, which often happens with olive trees.

Despite its age, the tree still appears to be healthy and strong.

In some old olive trees in the Tragaía, the trunk begins to decay in a similar way.

There are many very old, large, high and thick trees in the world. As far as olive trees are concerned, the trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, which are estimated to be between 1000 and 2000 years old, have a diameter of not much more than one metre. The olive tree in Kolymbari with a diameter of 3.64 metres and a circumference of 12 metres is estimated to be 2500 to 5000 years old. What must then be the age our tree! This is not so irrelevant, because even considering the smaller diameter of 5 metres as a basis the tree must have been standing here since the beginning of the Bronze age, an almost unimaginable age! We know that the oil from the olive tree was already used on Naxos in the Early Bronze age, and many olive pits have been found during recent excavations in the Early Bronze age settlement on Keros. Nevertheless, it seems hardly possible that a tree could have survived since that time. Unfortunately, there is probably no method that can be used to reliably determine the age of the tree. However, we can be sure that it is one of the oldest olive trees and trees in general in the world!

Incidentally, this tree can be used to determine the soil erosion that has taken place in the presumably thousands of years since its youth: The former base of the trunk lies a bit less than a metre above today’s ground level. This is actually quite a small change.

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