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Presentation on theme: "TYMPAKI - CRETE."— Presentation transcript:




4 TYMPAKI Tympaki is a town (of about inhabitants) in the south of Crete September 2005 TYMPAKI

5 MATALA Matala was the ancient port of Phaestos and Gortys and a former fishing community, which has developed into a modern holiday center. It is located 4 km southwest of the village of Pitsidia and 75 km from Iraklion. It is built on the coastline of the Messara bay inside a small and picturesque inlet. September 2005 TYMPAKI

6 MATALA Ruins of the ancient city are still
visible on the seabed as the ancient city was sunk in the sea. The archaeological pick has unearthed some traces of the palaces built by the nobles from the ancient cities of Phaestos and Gortys. The place became the meeting point of the "Flower Children" in 1968. Although their conference failed to realize, yet they were compensated by the incomparable beauty of the area, which so much contrasts with the concept of destruction and war. September 2005 TYMPAKI

7 MATALA The magnificent inlet of Matala features
one of the best beaches in Crete. The artificial caves, carved into the north face of the coast, have been probably used as prehistoric dwellings and places of worship, while during the 1st-2nd century were used as tombs. These caves, in combination with the sandy beach, act as a magnet for many people. Today the tomb-caves of Matala are protected by the Archaeological Service. September 2005 TYMPAKI

8 VORI Vori is a picturesque village which belongs to the region of Tympaki. A significant Museum of Cretan Ethnology is placed there since 1982. September 2005 TYMPAKI

9 VORI The exhibition is organized in 7 parts: Architecture Nutrition
Weaving Arts- Commerce Transportation Traditions Social Organization September 2005 TYMPAKI

10 KOMOS Messara bay is a part of the Libyan Sea. One of the most beautiful and popular beaches of the area is the beach of Komos. September 2005 TYMPAKI

11 AGIA TRIADA Agia Triada is situated not far from Festos. According to Italian archaeologists it was a kind of Royal country-house during Minoan times. Many discoveries were done here; beautiful pots with paintings in relief. The painted urn in relief of Agia Triada is famous, but also wall paintings with water-lilies, wild cats etc. These beautiful finds are all to be admired in the archaeological museum of Iraklion. September 2005 TYMPAKI

12 KOKKINOS PIRGOS One of the most beautiful and popular beaches of the area is the beach of Kokkinos Pirgos. September 2005 TYMPAKI

13 FESTOS Festos is one of the oldest, most important and most well-known cities from prehistoric times.  Here is found the important Disc of Festos. This disc is at both sides written, archaeologists are not able to decipher the texts until now. Festos was in Minoan times a very large territory which even included the islands of Paximadia (named then Lito) Festos was large and independent and had his own government, they even had there own coins. Festos did participate at the Trojan war, with Idomeneas as leader, together with other Cretan cities.  At 200 before Christ Festos was totally ruined by Gortys In Festos did rule the dynasty of Rodamathis, in Knossos it was the dynasty of King Minos. September 2005 TYMPAKI

14 GORTYS September 2005 TYMPAKI

The Cretan civilization, named later by the archeologist sir Arthur Evans as Minoan civilization (3000 BC BC) after the legendary legislator and King of Knossos Minoa, is probably the most important civilization that flourished in the Bronze Age. September 2005 TYMPAKI

16 MINOAN CIVILIZATION GEOGRAFICAL POSITION Crete's privileged position in the entire Mediterranean space made the island develop into a strong naval force. Minoan ships would travel in the Aegean Sea from the Western coasts of Asia Minor until Palestine and Egypt. Situated in the crossroad of three continents, it has been the point where all currents and great civilizations met as the Mesopotamian and the Egyptian ones. The Cretan civilization assimilated all influences, elaborated and finally transformed them and produced the unique Minoan civilization model - civilization that established new ways of life and new concepts in terms of art, aesthetics and human spirit. "In this place’’ - Nikos Kazantzakis writes in his book "Report to Greco’’ - "the soul of Greece has executed its inevitable mission: it brought the divine to the scale of human. The enormous, still Egyptian or Assyrian statues, here in Crete, have changed and became small and cute. Body has moved, mouth has smiled and the face and stature of God became that of man’’. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The Minoan civilization reached its greatest heights approximately in 1700 BC the variety of findings of that period certifies the existence of a society of a very developed civilization, a civilization extremely advanced, open to foreign influences. The miracle of Minoan civilization is a synthesis on the one hand of technical specialization, an art of unique beauty and sophisticated architectural works and on the other hand of social organization, a variety of religious rituals, science and commercial relations with the most advanced peoples of the Eastern World. The total lack of defense systems in the centers of Minoan civilization, which exist in other areas of Greece, is of a particular interest. It is a fact that has been interpreted on the basis of the famous “Minoan peace” that guaranteed the safety of civilization. The long lasting peace established according to this system, firmly supports the economy and culture of the island to thrive. September 2005 TYMPAKI

Minoans, apart from developing a great art and a strong economic activity, invented as well a system of writing named Linear A' because it consisted of linear symbols. The Minoan writing was of eastern origin, yet, the form we know is a particular Cretan invention and adaptation. This Cretan pro - alphabetical writing form is in fact the first writing in Europe. The Disk of Phaestos, the most ancient written monument of Minoan Crete found in the palace of Phaestos in 1908 AD, represents this system of writing which similarly to the ancient hieroglyphics has not been decodified until today. Except for writing, Crete was the region in Europe where first appeared systematic forms of knowledge management, namely exact sciences' applications such as the metric systems, mathematics and geometry, fields in which Minoans proved their perfect knowledge by constructing glorious architectural works - the palaces in the centers of Knossos, Phaestos, Xacros and Malia. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The violent eruption of the volcano in the neighboring island of Thera at the end of the 16th century BC caused massive catastrophes in Crete as well. The Minoan palace suffered extensive damages and entire cities and cultivations vanished. Cretan communities soon recovered but a second flood of catastrophes caused by a new earthquake abruptly interrupted this revival in 1450 BC. Populations from Argolida that controlled the biggest part of the Cyclades after the first eruption took advantage of the lack of power that this physical catastrophe had caused and invaded the island imposing thus a new political system. This was the last page of the glorious Minoan civilization and the first one of another equally important that remained in history by the name of Mycenaean civilization. September 2005 TYMPAKI

20 THE MINOAN PALACES The connection between economy and religion is evident in all the palaces and all the aspects of Minoan life. This is understandable only if one considers the difference in mentality from our own. Although trade was widely practiced, people depended mainly on agriculture, the foundation of the economy. Religion was also very important. The king or priest has to mediate between people and the Gods for the good harvest. For this reason it is perhaps more accurate to view the palaces as economic and cult centers than private dwellings to the hypothetical Queen or the King September 2005 TYMPAKI

The renowned Knossos was the palace of King Minos and the center of the Minoan civilization. Minoan palaces were unearthed also in Phaestos, Zakros and Malia. These palaces must have been impressive constructions of exquisite architecture and brilliant design. They functioned not only as residences of royalty, but also as religious and administrative seats, and venues for multifarious social activities of the time. The Minoan palaces featured extensive storage areas where all kinds of crop were collected and stored. In periods of famine and natural disasters part of the crop was used to provide public relief. The Minoan palaces were, indeed, bustling places, with throngs of people – workers, common folk, officers – going about their business. Numerous technicians, blacksmiths, perfumers, weavers, potters, jewelers, seal makers, etc., worked daily on the grounds of the palaces. Symposia and functions took place inside the palaces, too. Shrines and altars for practicing devotion to the royal families were also located inside the palaces. The tripartite Shrine of Knossos, for example, was the center of cult practices in the palace. North of the Shrine were two Treasuries, i.e. two large orthogonal sacred repositories below the floor with walls lined in iridescent slabs. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The second major Minoan Palace in Crete after Knossos is Phaestos in the fertile plain of Messara, center of religious and economic activities. The palace has been excavated by Italian Archaeologists. Its importance lies not only in its size but also in the fact that we have two successive palaces. This is of great consequence for our understanding of Minoan history and for our reconstruction of the major phases of Minoan civilization. We know that there were two palace periods. The period of the old palaces (c BC) and the period of the new palaces (c BC). Earthquakes destroyed the old palaces and that made the Cretans to rebuild them. Although such early palaces existed also at Knossos, Malia and Zakros, it is mostly at Phaestos that we have their visible remains. One can easily observe the existence of the two different Palaces built one on top of the ruins of the previous. A destructive earthquake around 1700 BC brought the old palace to an end. Much of the palace has been destroyed, particularly on its south side where it has been eroded away. It was a complex structure with five different, independent but still coordinated units that had separate functions. Included were magazines and workshops indicating its role as industrial and trade center. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The Minoan city covered a considerable area around the palatial center. After the destruction of the palace in the 15th century, the city continued to be inhabited in the Mycenaean and Geometric periods, that is, until the 8th century B.C. Later, the temple of Rhea was built to the south of the old palace. The Hellenistic city was extremely prosperous; houses of the period are to be seen in the west court (upper terrace) of the palace. In the middle of the 2nd century B.C. it was destroyed and dominated by the neighboring city of Gortys. Traces of habitation dating from the Venetian period are scattered in the whole area. The archaeological investigation of Phaestos started in 1884 by F. Halbherr and continued by the Italian Archaeological School at Athens, under the direction of F. Halbherr and L. Pernier in and by Doro Levi, in September 2005 TYMPAKI

This disk from baked clay represents the most ancient record of script in Minoan Crete. It was found by scientists of the Italian School of Archaeology in the palace of Phaestos in The disk measures 16 cm in diameter with the script "inscribed" in spiral form coiling out from the center of the disk and reaching its perimeter. Forty-five different hieroglyphics have been identified, running from right to left. There are 241 signs in all, arranged in groups divided by vertical lines, with each sign been impressed with 45 different wooden or metal punches into the original soft clay. This form of "imprint" is probably the forerunner of modern printing. The impressive technique used to imprint these hieroglyphics on the Disk of Phaestos supports the claim that other texts in the same enigmatic script might have been produced. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The palaces (old and new) are spread on different terraces. To the central, peristyle court are opened the royal quarters, the storerooms and workshops. The monumental propylon and the large staircases facilitate access to the many terraces. The Palace of Phaestos with its superb architectural composition and its almost perfect construction is considered to be the finest and most typical of all Minoan palaces. The ruins of the old and new palace are preserved today, the former having been protected under a shed. The nucleus of the new palace is a central peristyle court around which the rooms are arranged: the storerooms and shrines on the west side, the royal quarters on the north and the workshops on the east. September 2005 TYMPAKI

26 THE MINOAN PALACES To the west of the storerooms is the “theatral area“ with the ‘processional ways’ and, in the lower strata, the granaries of the Old Palace period (first palace). The West Propylon, the monumental entrance to the palace is the most impressive known structure of its kind. The finds from the palace are now exhibited in the Archaeological museum of Heraklion. Like at Knossos, the first (old) palace was built at the beginning of the 2nd millenium B.C. (MM I period) and remained in use for about three centuries ( B.C.). It was destroyed by fire in ca B.C. On its ruins a new palace was erected but was also destroyed in the mid-15th century B.C. (LM IB) along with the other Minoan palatial centers. The palace was abandoned thereafter and individuals occupied only some of its parts in the late Post-palatial period. In the Archaic period the temple of the Great Mother or Rhea was built on the remains of the Old Palace period, in the southern part of the palace. September 2005 TYMPAKI

Gortys, or Gortyna, as it is called today, was one of the strongest and most ancient towns of Crete and, during Roman and early Byzantine times, the capital of the island. In the 3rd century BC it captured Phaestos and its port, Matala, and thus had two ports: Lebena and Matala. It was in constant conflict with Knossos, but cultivated peaceful relations with the Achaeans and the Ptolemies of Egypt. During the period of Roman domination it knew its greatest period of prosperity, since it took the side of the Romans and did not put up a resistance against them. In exchange, not only did the Romans not destroy the city, as they had done the other towns, which had resisted, but they also helped it extend its domination over the island, and established it as the seat of the Roman praetorians. Gortyna accepted Christianity early and became the see of the first Bishop of Crete, the Apostle Titus. In the early Byzantine period it flourished and retained its prestige until 828 AD, when it was taken and destroyed by the Saracens. From that time on, the town was deserted and was never again inhabited. September 2005 TYMPAKI

On the right bank of the Lethaean torrent, on a height, the remains of an acropolis and to its southeast, the seate of an ancient theatre. On the other bank can be seen the Odeon, which was built on the site of an older square structure during the 1st century AD. For its reconstruction, the stones of a nearby archaic circular building were used, on which were carved the famous laws of Gortys. On the northwestern side of the Odeon, four rows of the precious inscribed stones still survive today, constituting the most important record of the Law of the time and an invaluable aid for the study of its inscriptions. The inscriptions are carved in the Doric dialect, "boustrophedon", that is, "as the ox plows", (from left to right and then right to left and so on) and they date from the end of the 6th century BC. Nearby, there stood the agora with the sanctuary of Asclepios, where the statue of Asclepiades was found (Herakleion Archaeological Museum) and,further to the south, the ruins of the basilica of St. Titus, an impressive church built with massive carved limestone blocks. The portion which survives iscovered by an arch. September 2005 TYMPAKI

29 GREEK CUISINE “The origin and the beginning of all good things in life lies in pleasing the stomach” Epicures B.C Greece boasts a rich gastronomic history, whose roots go far back in time. It has one of the oldest and tastiest gastronomic traditions in the world, a tradition made of different flavors, scents, ingredients and techniques from the prehistorical times until today. In recent years, ancient Greek cuisine has become the focus of many studies and historical research. The writings dating back to those times described in impressive detail the nutrition habits of our ancestors living both in the mainland and on the islands. The utensils and cooking gear, of various kinds and shapes, discovered during archaeological diggings point at the existence of a particularly advanced, refined and healthy way of cooking. Indeed, Greek cuisine is a kaleidoscope of dishes, recipes and traditions so varied and multifaceted as the regions of our ever-changing landscape. What we call today Greek Cuisine is a celebration of the palate, a blend of numerous products and of a wide range of preparation and eating methods. The Greek cuisine, as the sum of local traditions of which it consists, remains the most popular cuisine in contemporary Greece. In addition to the taste and quality of Greek cooking, this is also due to the fact that in recent years private initiatives have greatly contributed to bringing out our cultural heritage relating to food and wine. "Masters" of cookery all around Greece, with love and zeal, are turning Greek products to advantage, setting out their taste and maintaining the public's interest. At the same time, however, they see to enhancing and expanding the wealth of Greek cookery by introducing novelties from other cultures and experimenting with the limits of the art of cooking to reveal to us, laymen, the interplay and fascination of flavors. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The way of preparing food and pastry in various places around Greece, though different not only from place to place, but also from household to household and from restaurant to restaurant, has contributed to creating what is known today as Traditional Greek Cuisine. To this general pattern of the Traditional Greek Cuisine, contributed also the inhabitants of the Greek provinces adding their habits, typical flavors and products to create Local Traditional Cuisines. Obviously, local cuisine depends also from local conditions, such as the natural wealth and climate of each region, as well as the influence of other peoples and traditions. Greek cuisine has been directly influenced by Turkish cuisine, and this influence is to be seen today in appetizers such as tzatziki (yogurt dip with cucumber and garlic), imam-baildi (mix vegetables cooked in the oven with olive oil), souvlaki (grilled meat with pita bread) and moussakas (vegetables with minced meat and béchamel sauce), but also from Venetian cuisine, especially in the Ionian islands occupied and held by the Venetians for many years. From their conquerors the inhabitants inherited a love for pasta and pies of various sorts. September 2005 TYMPAKI

Greek Salad : The crown jewel of the Greek Cuisine, so to say, is the Greek Salad, made of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese, olives and oregano and seasoned with the famous Greek olive oil. This olive oil has a high nutritive value and constitutes the cornerstone of Greek cooking, together with all the other derivatives of the olive tree. Variety of dishes: Typical of the Greek meal is the variety of dishes. There is no main course, all dishes are served together and they make up a mouthwatering picture. The so-called mezedes (small plates filled with various delicacies) are numerous and as they are served all together, they resemble a multicolored canvas full of surprises and savors. Delicious vegetables and greens, legumes (among which the typically Greek broad beans and split peas), fresh and exquisitely tasty fish and seafood caught in Greek waters, juicy fruit, excellent quality meat, a variety of cheese types, many of which are brand protected, such as xinomitzithra, formaella & metsovone, creamy and tasty yogurt and last but not least, the thick and scented thyme or flower honey all domestically and abundantly produced thanks to the temperate Mediterranean climate and the good quality soil. A Greek meal is a gastronomic experience apt to satisfy even the most refined palate. September 2005 TYMPAKI

32 GREEK CUISINE Bread : Greek food is accompanied by exquisitely tasty bread, traditionally hand-kneaded (country style with leaven). In the past, and in some places even today, bread kneading was a solemn procedure performed once a week with particular seriousness and respect. In many Greek villages, bread, together with bread rolls, cheese pies, rolls with olive oil and small sweet pies with honey, cinnamon and cloves, is still baked in stone ovens burning wood. Wine: Since antiquity, the star of the Greek meal has been God Dionysus' sacred liquid: wine. The vine is cultivated all over Greece and there is an exciting variety of Greek wines, considered to be among the best in the world. The wide range of Greek wines includes the typically Greek retsina, (white wine which shouldn't be left to age), flavored white and red wines, such as the sweet, luxuriously red Mavrodafni served as digestive but also ouzo, raki and tsipouro, which match with the taste and bring out the wealth of Greek food. September 2005 TYMPAKI

33 GREEK CUISINE Sweets: Regarding sweets, the typically Greek sweet, served both in the city and in the country side, is the traditional "sweet of the spoon", that is top quality candied fruit, preserved whole in syrup (quince, fig, orange, chestnut, apricot, cherry and other seasonal fruit). Equally traditional are also decked in syrup made with dried nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts), home-made filo pastry, various dried fruit and, finally, honey which provides for the typical scent and high nutritive value of these pastries. Among the best-known pastries are galaktoboureko, baklava, kadaifi, melomakarona, halva prepared with semolina, ravani and samali. Soft cake, cake, pasties, tarts and flans belong to a latter generation of pastries although they have been fully assimilated by the Greek cuisine. Greek coffee: Typically Greek is also the extremely popular "Greek coffee", which contrary to italian espresso coffee is not served after meals but at any time during the day, in the morning or afternoon. Greek coffee, of Arabian origin, has strong taste and rich scent and is tastier when freshly ground and prepared in the briki, a typical long handled copper pot. It is stronger but much tastier when served with kaimaki, (the thick froth formed at the surface as the coffee starts to boil). Greek coffee is served in small cups and is never drunk to the last gulp since there is always sediment at the bottom of the cup. It is usually served in small coffee shops, or kafenia, where groups of people gather around tables sipping coffee and discussing for hours on end. However, even more popular than Greek coffee, especially in the summer, is a Greek invention called cafe frappe, that is instant coffee shaken to create froth with sugar, milk or ice cubes, depending on taste. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The, so-called, Mediterranean Diet and its superiority in comparison to other gastronomic traditions, has been at the focus of attention for many decades. In 1994, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Harvard School of Public Heath and the Health Organization “Oldways” presented the, so called, Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and scientifically proved that the eating habits of Mediterranean peoples, rich in vegetables, legumes, fruit, cereals and using as olive oil as their basic source of fat, contributes to ensure good health and longevity. The majority of international medical and dietary research studies use Cretan cuisine as the most typical and qualitatively superior example of Mediterranean diet. The inhabitants of Crete were found to have the lowest mortality indicators, as well as the proportionately lowest, worldwide, mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease and cancer. September 2005 TYMPAKI

35 and “Kali orexi” (good appetite) !
GREEK CUISINE THE SECRETS OF CRETAN CUISINE A lot of garden products: Cretans eat their own products, that is a lot of garden products, greens and vegetables, legumes and fruit, and flavor their dishes by adding herbs and spices growing on the mountains of Crete, such as thyme and basil Wine: while they almost always accompany food with wine from the local vine yards Olive oil: . However, the most important nutritive element is olive oil, which, as we have already said, is for Cretans as for all the Mediterranean peoples, the main source of fat. The Mediterranean climate and good soil of Crete enable olive trees to grow both in the plains and in the highlands and to provide top quality olive oil with low acidity and wonderful scent. Generally speaking, Greek olive oil is the basis of Greek nutrition and is used in most dishes replacing butter or different types of oil used in other parts of the world. The nutritive value of olive oil is enormous since it is the most potent antioxidant agent in nature, thus protecting our body from oxidation and stopping the development of free roots, which cause serious illnesses. The fact that Cretans live longer than any other people and have the lowest incidence rates of various diseases seems to be directly connected to their being the biggest consumers of olive oil worldwide. If you are interested in Greek recipes have a look at: www. and “Kali orexi” (good appetite) ! September 2005 TYMPAKI

36 THE OLIVE TREE Greece is full of olive groves. The Olive Tree, "the tree that feeds the children" according to Sophocles, is the protagonist of the Greek nature and history as olive oil is the protagonist of the Greek diet. The indigenous olive tree (wild olive tree) first appeared in the eastern Mediterranean but it was in Greece that it was first cultivated. Since then, the presence of the olive tree in the Greek region has been uninterrupted and closely connected with the traditions and the culture of the Greek people. According to mythology, Elais, daughter of Anias and Dorippi, was the protector of olive oil. Her sisters were Oino, protector of vineyard, and Spermo, protector of wheat. Oil, wine and wheat were the three valuable products of the Greek soil. Olive oil, as it is testified by the fossilized olive trees, which are 50,000-60,000 thousand years old and were found in the volcanic rocks of Santorini, has always been a distinctive element of the country. Its systematic cultivation started in the pre-historic times - the Stone and Bronze Age. September 2005 TYMPAKI

MINOAN AND MYCENAEAN SOCIETY Olive oil production held a prominent position in the Minoan and Mycenaean society and economy as it is shown by excavations and findings (earthenware jars, recordings on tablets, remains of oil mills). During the Minoan Period, olives were treated and oil was produced which in turn was stored in earthenware jars and amphorae. Quite often it was exported to the Aegean islands and mainland Greece. Apart from the financial gains, though, the olive tree was worshipped as sacred and its oil, besides being offered to the Gods and the dead, was also used in the production of perfumes, medicine and in daily life as a basic product in diet, lighting and heating. September 2005 TYMPAKI

38 THE OLIVE TREE ATHENS The olive tree played an important role in the life in Athens as well. According to tradition, in the famous fight between Poseidon and Pallada Athena over the name of the city, Athena won offering the city an olive tree, symbol of peace, progress and power. The city expressed its gratitude by giving the name of the Goddess to the city. Indicative of the importance given to the olive tree by Athens is the fact that the Athenians represented Athena having an olive wreath on her helmet and an amphora with oil or a branch of olive tree. The sculpture of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, in Olympia made of gold and ivory by Pheidias had also a wreath of olive branches. The sacred olive tree of Athens, the first olive tree given to the Greeks by the goddess Athena, grew in the Acropolis and in the area of the Academy there were the 12 sacred olive trees, and the sacred olive grove from which the olive oil given as a prize to the winners of Panathenea was taken. In 480 BC, when the Persians occupied Athens, they burnt down the sacred tree and the Athenians considered this a bad sign. But the next day, sorrow was replaced by joy seeing that the burnt trunk had already budded. September 2005 TYMPAKI

Olive oil had a direct connection with sports activities. The athletes of ancient games had the habit of smearing their bodies with oil before exercising in the gymnasiums in order to maintain the elasticity of their muscles. The prize for the winners of the Olympic games was a wreath of wild olive, 'kotinos'. Olive oil had also many different therapeutic uses according to the Hippocratic code of medicine, which mentions approximately 60 therapeutic uses of the olive tree for treating diseases and ailments. Olive oil was also used as a sacred symbol for religious purposes in different ceremonies. Ancient Greeks used olive oil to make libations on the altars, to smear tombstones and sacred stones. September 2005 TYMPAKI

The Christians continued the ancient custom of using oil in the burial ceremony. Olive oil has put its seal on the Greek traditions with which it is irrevocably connected. Being the sacred symbol of the cycle of life, it is used in every important moment and ceremony - birth, christening, marriage and death. For the Orthodox Christians, oil, as well as wheat and wine, has the significance of a religious good as it is connected with the mysteries of Confirmation and Holy Unction. The faithful consider the oil sanctified by the church to be a talisman and a source of help in every difficult moment. According to another tradition, "ladadelfia" (oil-siblings), people having received the oil of christening from the same godfather or godmother, are not allowed to get married to each other. Art has been influenced as well by the strong presence of the olive tree in the Greek region. The traditional picture of villagers praying for a good harvest and gathering in the olive groves to pick the olives has been the topic of many literature works, paintings and folklore objects. The olive tree - a sacred tree, valuable and beloved- has put its mark on the Greek civilization. September 2005 TYMPAKI

Many people claim that the oldest olive tree, 5,000 years old, is in Pano Vouves, in Kolymvari, Chania in Creete. The average life expectancy of an olive tree is years. The cultivation and exploitation technique today is not very different from the one used in ancient times. The Mediterranean area produces 99% of the world olive oil production. Greece, despite the fact that it is a small country in magnitude, stands in the 3rd position in the world in the olive oil production, after Spain and Italy. There are today approximately 120,000,000 olive trees in Greece (the population of the country is approximately 10,000,000) covering an area of approximately 6 million stremmata (1 stremma=1000 m2 ). Approximately 450,000 Greek families are involved in the cultivation of the olive tree and the processing of its fruit all over the country. The prefectures of Heraklion and Messinia are in the first position in the production of olive oil in Greece. The Greeks are today the first consumes of olive oil compared to any other people and the per capita consumption is approximately 16 kilos annually. In Crete, consumption comes up to 30 kilos per year per person. Scientific research has proven that the Cretan diet is the healthiest in the world. September 2005 TYMPAKI

42 THE OLIVE TREE OLIVE HARVEST Due to its mild climate, Crete is an ideal place for the development of olive trees and thousands of families make a living from cultivating these trees. Both the climate and the composition of the Cretan soil guarantee the fine aroma and superb flavor of the Cretan olive oil, which is internationally acknowledged for its high quality. Winter is the time that olives are picked and olive oil is produced at olive-oil mills. The olive harvest period starts in November and lasts till March. The olives are ready to be picked when the fruit is 3/4 ripe. This means that it should be purple or close to black. If it is allowed to ripe fully then the quality of the olive oil deteriorates and the acidity increases. In Crete the olive harvest is mechanical. Special portable equipment is used. This results in a fast harvest when the weather conditions allow it. The weather should not be windy or rainy. Special nets or big pieces of synthetic fabric are placed under the trees. Their use is to collect the olives that drop from the trip and their placement is a job for women and children. Men operate the harvesters. It is very common for relatives and friends to help each other for the olive harvest. Everything has to be done efficiently and fast because the whole procedure is weather dependant and weather in the winter is rarely good. September 2005 TYMPAKI

At the oil mill the fruit is put into a bid-feeding hopper attached to a moving belt and the leaves are removed. Afterwards the fruit is washed to remove any foreign materials. The olives are crushed and the olive oil is separated. Finally the olive oil is delivered to the produced and he stores it into metallic tanks or glass bottles. Plastic tanks are not suitable for storing olive oil. September 2005 TYMPAKI

These grades of olive oil were developed by the International Olive Oil Council: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil The A+ of oils. This is the oil that results from the first pressing of olives. To qualify as extra virgin, the oil must be cold pressed, with no chemicals or hot water added during the process. Also, acidity levels must be lower than one percent, and the oil must have an excellent flavor and aroma. Virgin Olive Oil This results from the first pressing, but the fruit can be of slightly lower quality. Pure Olive Oil The most common oil used, it is chemically refined to strip away undesirable taste and aroma. It is usually a combination of virgin olive oil mixed with refined olive oil. September 2005 TYMPAKI

First olive press in the world was found on the island of Crete around 1600 B.C. Homer in the "Odyssey" refers to olive oil as "liquid gold“ Solon's Olive protection Law during the Athenian democracy (600 B.C.), in the first written legislation of the world, prohibited the cutting down of olive trees Olympic games winners in ancient Greece were crowned with olive branches Greek Orthodox rituals such as christenings & blessings use olive oil In Genesis, a dove released from the Ark by Noah, returned with an olive branch to show that the flood had receded. Hercules was protected by wearing a wreath of olive leaves upon his head For bravery in battle, Roman soldiers were rewarded with crowns of olive Nobel prize winner Greek poet Odysseas Elytis wrote "Greece is a vine, an olive tree and a boat" and "Mid day July...if there were no olive groves... I would dream one up" Thomas Jefferson wrote: "The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven“ Aldous Huxley wrote: "…I like them all, but especially the olive. For what it symbolizes, first of all, peace with its leaves and joy with its golden oil.“ Federico Garcia Lorca wrote: "Angels with long braids and hearts of olive oil." Lawrence Durrell wrote in Prospero's Cell, "The entire Mediterranean seems to rise out of the sour, pungent taste of black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat or wine, a taste as old as cold water. Only the sea itself seems as ancient a part of the region as the olive and its oil, that like no other products of nature, have shaped civilizations from remotest antiquity to the present." September 2005 TYMPAKI


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