Olive Cultivation in Trabzon Dates Back to BC

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Ahmet İhsan Hacıfettahoğlu, Head of the Trabzon Branch of the Chamber of Landscape Architects: “Olives can be grown again in this region”

During the excavations started in the Akçakale Castle, which is known to have been built by Emperor Alexios II in the 13th century in Trabzon’s Akçaabat district, the olive trees that attracted attention around the castle brought olive cultivation back to the agenda in Trabzon.

Olive cultivation, which dates back to BC in the historical region and was developed in the Ottoman Period, has recently come to the fore in Trabzon. Researcher-Writer Zehra Topal stated that the Vazelon Monastery, where olive cultivation is at the forefront along the coastline extending from Trabzon’s Beşikdüzü district to Of District, said that the revival of olive and olive oil production in the region after years will make a great contribution to both the regional economy and eco-tourism.

Local People are not Strangers to Olives and Olive Oil

Researcher and Writer Zehra Topal stated that the local people were not unfamiliar with olives and olive oil, and said, “It is written in the records of Vazelon Monastery that olives were grown in this region in the 13-14th centuries. So there was olives. After the Ottoman conquest, there were quite a few olive trees here. The revenues were first allocated to church foundations and then to the sanjak. But it took some of the revenues to go to church until the 1850s. Sümela is among them. The Hıdırellez Monastery in Kuştul and Gümüşhane was among them. Their foundation status continued and their income from olives went to them. There were many olive trees, the censuses show it. A total of 294 thousand liters of olive oil was produced in the accident, 223 thousand 800 liters in 1554, 234 thousand liters in 1583. Very little of it was sold as table food. Bursa, Thessaloniki and Trabzon were the cities where the most olive oil was grown. Then this decreases. From Eynesil Of’ Until now, the coastal areas were covered with olive trees. Evliya Çelebi wrote that there are beautiful olive groves and that Akçaabat is completely covered with olive trees. I heard from a teacher that olives were collected for a month in the center of Çarşıbaşı. Then the disease developed in these olives. It is said that this was not given importance when non-Muslims left. Those who returned from immigration burned the olive groves. In the 1940s, the olives were diseased. The state had boilers installed on the side of the stream. The olives were sprayed, but that didn’t help either. All the olives have dried up, and the citizens have cut the dried olives and planted other things in their place,” she said.

Stating that there is a Mediterranean climate in the coastal area, Topal said, “There is a Mediterranean type climate between Çarşıbaşı-Yoruz cape and Trabzon. There are still olives here. It grows in Mersin and Akçakale. There were olive groves that produced the best olive oil in the region we call the Highways Olive Grove.”

Evliya Çelebi Used the Expression “Golden Yellow” for Trabzon Olive Oil

Ali Çankaya, one of the former Trabzon Provincial Directorates of Agriculture and Forestry and the 2nd President of the Nature-History Association, said, “Olive cultivation in this region came to the fore with Evliya Çelebi’s arrival in Trabzon in 1640 and he said that there are irem vineyards in Hagia Sophia. He said there is olive and he said it is the best olive in the world. He mentioned that there are 7 types of olives here. However, he added that the type called oil olive is “The olive oil of Trabzon is golden yellow”. Today, an excavation is being carried out in Akçakale. As it turns out, cultural-social eco-tourism must be carried out in parallel with this. Olive trees must be replanted in that area. There are historical olive trees here. Production can be made by planting the pigs found in olive trees. Olive trees must be included when considering a picnic area here. Trabzon has aubergine fig and persimmon should definitely take their place. This castle should be rebuild with full local vegetation. We had olive groves especially on the beaches. Now, by building villas, hotels or houses, the olives here are uprooted. Between the 1940s and the 80s, our friends who wanted to grow tobacco and hazelnut uprooted the olive groves. Olive is wealth. It is a sacred fruit. It occupies a very important place in the culture of the Turkish nation. At the point of opening this castle built in Akçakale to tourism, olive groves should definitely be included within the scope of eco tourism. The past here must be told in the culture. It is an area with a Mediterranean climate between Yomra and Yoroz. It can easily grow in this region. It can be easily planted in the gardens of the houses and we should protect the existing ones,” he said.

Olives can be grown again in this region

Ahmet İhsan Hacıfettahoğlu, Head of the Trabzon Branch of the Chamber of Landscape Architects, stated that the fact that olives were grown here in the past is proof that it will still be grown today. “If the geographical indication certificate can be obtained and the olives here can be sold at their true value, olive farming will develop again. Olives are also very important in terms of landscape architecture. This also needs to be brought to life again. We recommend that it is not produced from olives in the agricultural land, but grown into saplings and used in the landscape,” he said. In terms of tourism, Hacıfettahoğlu stated that local Akçaabat olives should definitely be used in the arrangement of the castle. If an area is created where he can collect olives, see the production of olive oil and buy it, Akçaabat olives will also be brought into eco-tourism,” he said.

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