I missed #MuseumMonday this week, but when I drizzle my Greek salad with olive oil at lunchtime, I’m often reminded of the Olive and Olive Oil Museum in Sparta, one of my favorite quirky little stops around the Peloponnese. Let me tell you a little about it, and if you’re coming to Greece soon, maybe we can arrange a visit!
Why, you might ask, do olives and their oil deserve their own museum? When you visit Greece, Italy, or really anywhere around the Mediterranean, you’ll probably notice that you see olives and their products pretty much everywhere. But why? Well, edible olives have been around for a really long time! Believe it or not, many of the fruits and vegetables we take for granted today were only introduced to Europe within the last few hundred years or so, but there’s evidence that olives have been grown commercially in Crete for 4000 years. Because it’s been around for such a long time and there are just so many of them, the olive has always had a lot of symbolic value. Everyone knows that an olive branch is a sign of peace, but did you know that in the ancient Greek Olympic games, the winner was presented with an olive wreath? And that’s not to mention the many, many uses the ancients found for olive oil. So, long story short, the olive is pretty important!
You’ll learn all about this and plenty more at the Olive museum. It’s filled with ancient relics, interesting information, and super-cool life size dioramas showing all the different uses those old Greeks found for the olive and how they made them happen. Right now, they’re working on an open-air exhibit that will demonstrate the different ways olive oil has been made throughout the millennia. It’s a fun, family friendly destination, and a great way to spend a few hours in between visiting the sites at ancient Sparta and nearby Mystras. If all of this sounds like a cool and interesting part of a laid-back Greek vacation, check out the rest of our website and ask us about planning a trip through the Peloponnese soon!