It is estimated that olives first appeared on the island Santorini which belongs to Greece. In the north the olive plant came after Anatolia to Greece, Italy and Spain. In the south it reached Egypt and then whole North Africa. In the 16th Century it came together with North America and Latin America to China and Japan.
It is known that agriculture with olives is done since 6.000 years. However, 39.000 years old fossils of olive trees are found on the island Santorini in the Aegean Sea during archeological examinations. Another archeological excavation showed us that the ancient city of Klazomenai near the county Urla in the Province of Izmir was an important production centre for olives and olive oil at recent times.
An olive tree’s productivity is basing on particulars like climate and culture one year high and the next year low. In years with high productivity 10 percent of the world olive production is realized in our county which equals to 1.3 million tons.
The olive fruit is used in two ways: for consumption at the dining table and for production of oil. In our country 70 percent of the processed olives are used for oil production and 30 percent for consumption at the dining table.
Not many things drew the attention of the civilized world in history like olives and olive oil did. Olives are the sources of many myths and their history reaches four thousand years to the past. In all ages olives and olive oil were subject to trading. Thus olives reached many countries and mainly the countries of the Mediterranean. Olive leaves are symbols of victory, intelligence and peace.
A pigeon returning to Noah’s ship with an olive branch in its mouth was considered as a sign of the end of the great flood.
Olives gathered an important position in many religions and in various splendid religious celebrations of the Mediterranean from baptizing ceremonies and oil lamps to traditional and holy places.
Whether in myths or in ordinary life; in no place you can follow the historical tracks of olives as you can do in the Mediterranean. For example the history of the olive plant in Greece reaches up to 4000 years to the past.
Besides, you’ll determine the actual importance of olives when you look in historical works. For example it is told by witnesses that during the Liberation War Turkish and Greek people carried many baskets of olives with them when compulsorily returning to their homelands mutually and that they ate these olives during their voyage and during the hard period after it.
Olives are mentioned in the Holy Koran. It is written there that the olive tree originates at Mount Sinai, that oil is gained from its fruits and that this oil is used to make meals tastier.