MILLENNIUM-OLD OLIVE TREES
WITNESSES OF HISTORY, THESE OLIVE TREES WITH THEIR TWISTED TRUNKS SEEM TO LIVE FOREVER...
the millennium-old olive trees of the city of Serpa are of high heritage value and some of them are directly connected to the local history and culture. They were transplanted by the municipality, in 1958 and 1978, from agricultural estates of the area.
© CMS, Alameda Abade Correia da Serra
© CMS, Rua dos Arcos
© CMS, Largo 25 Abril
TREES CLASSIFIED IN THE CITY
Five of these trees (Olea europaea L. var. europaea), which stand out for their size, shape, age, rarity, historical or landscape interest, were classified “Public Interest” by the Autoridade Florestal Nacional (National Forest Authority) in 2001. Two of them stand in front of the Engenheiro Pulido Garcia Municipal Garden and, the other three, in Rua dos Arcos, next to the rampart, the water wheel and the aqueduct.
In 2010, the olive tree in Largo 25 de Abril (or Rossio) was also deemed of public interest and the commission stated that it was a "magnificent olive tree with a millennium-old appearance. It presents a perforated and hollow trunk, forming caves and arches of great visual effect. For its unique character, antiquity and beauty, this olive tree deserves the status of a tree of public interest."
DR. II Série, no. 298 – Notice 15 612/2001 of 27th December 2001 (see here)
Notice 1 of 07/01/2010 - Autoridade Florestal Nacional (see here)
A RARE AND EXTENSIVE ANCIENT OLIVE GROVE STILL IN PRODUCTION
On the outskirts of Serpa is found that which may be the oldest and largest olive grove in Portugal to have survived to our days, with hundreds of very old olive trees still in production. About 70 of those trees have been around for many centuries and a few of them are over a thousand years old, assures the owner and custodian of these olive trees of Monte da Zanga, Engineer Fernandes de Oliveira, agronomist and former professor at the Escola Profissional de Desenvolvimento Rural de Serpa (Professional School of Rural Development).
Connected to the olive grove since he was born, 71 years ago, he helped his father plant new olive trees and recover the centuries-old trees for his family’s estate. The productive aspect of this olive grove is not the only important goal but it is effective. Treated with meticulous care, this olive grove produces traditional varieties of olives. The olive oils they yield taste like the olive oils of olden times; an alternative to intensive production, with an enormous potential for the development of olive oil-based products for niches and segments of market that value this whole context.
(click on the photos to expand and check the credits)
The historical, heritage, cultural and scientific interest of this olive grove is indisputable. In recent years, partnerships have been established with university research centres for the analysis of these olive trees which have very interesting characteristics and are, therefore, an important study object.
The interpretive aspect of these trees has also been gaining significance, given the number of centuries and millennium-old specimens in the olive grove and the interesting experience to be had from appreciating these magnificent trees in the presence and with the guidance of their owner, who has many stories to tell about the property and its very old occupants.
© Eco Sapiens, millenial-old Olive trees at Monte da Zanga