A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Olive Presses


On Symi and elsewhere there is much evidence of a once self sufficient reasonable farming economy. Here is an example of an old olive press on Symi. Left discarded on a hillside called Kato Meria it lies amongst ancient terraces and threshing circles. It is about 4' x 3' wide and made out of limestone and I cannot imagine how old this example is.




There are other more sophisticated examples on Tilos. These have remained unchanged for thousands of years and people have used olive presses since Greeks first began pressing olives over 5,000 years ago. Roman olive presses survive to the present time, with a notable collection present at Volubilis in Morocco. The examples below were taken on Tilos, a particularly fertile island, where every community has its own olive press. 

Here is a picture of an old working press similar to the one above but worked by a donkey. This is taken from an excellent book on olive oil recipes called "Olive Oil - Eat Better, Live Longer"!

There is a museum on Naxos dedicated to the olive. It has an excellent website here....





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