Olive tree cultivation in the “City of Gladiators” goes back centuries – Middle East Monitor


The practice of harvesting olives, which dates back centuries, began in the ancient town of Stratonikeia, located in the Turkish province of Mugla, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The city was inscribed on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015.

Also known as the “City of the Gladiators”, the historic site was important during the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Anatolian periods, as well as the Ottoman and Turkish eras.

The locals harvest the olives, called “green gold” in the region, from the trees of the ancient city.

Nevcehan Erdogan, who harvests olives in Stratonikeia, said olives are one of the region’s biggest sources of income.

Explaining that they collect the olives by hand without any farm machinery, Erdogan said, “Harvesting the olives in the ancient city is a different feeling. Tourists are watching too.”

Olives have always kept their importance in the region

Talk to Anadolu AgencyBilal Sogut, excavator in Stratonikeia and Lagina, said: “There are olive trees that are at least 1000 years old in Stratonikeia and 2000 years old in Lagina. According to the finds and inscriptions unearthed during the excavations, we can say that olive oil has been produced and marketed for at least 3,000 years.

Based on descriptions of “olives” in some historical artefacts and olive oil extraction materials found during excavations, Sogut noted that the history of olives and olive oil extraction in Stratonikeia and its surroundings dates back to ancient times.

Noting that olive oil extraction sites have been around since the Archaic period, he said olive oil was once awarded as a prize to competition winners in ancient times.

He went on to say that at least four types of olives and olive oils are shown in price lists from Roman times, adding that “the olive has always retained its importance (in the region) “.

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Sogut said on the exterior walls of the ancient city’s parliament building there was a price list of olive oils from the Roman period, around 1,720 years ago.

“From our excavations, we know that there were at least five olive oil workshops in a neighborhood from Roman times and that they were actively operated at that time,” he added.

Sogut said he also unearthed materials used for olive oil extraction at different times.

“We are continuing our efforts to dig up the pits, olive presses and other materials used in the extraction of olive oil,” he added.

Workshops will be set up to show how olive oil was extracted in ancient times in Stratonikeia, he noted.

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