The presence of the olive tree has marked not only the landscape but also the everyday lives of the Mediterranean peoples. As a mythical and sacred tree, it is associated with their rites and customs and has influenced their lifestyles, creating a specific ancient civilisation, the "Olive Tree Civilisation": the Routes of the Olive Tree follow in the footsteps of this civilisation, from Greece towards the Euro-Mediterranean countries.
The olive tree dates back millions of years. Wild olive trees, ancestors of the domesticated ones, can still be seen in the Peloponnese, Crete, North Africa and the Middle East, their places of origin. The relationship between this tree and human civilisation has produced an immensely rich, living cultural heritage, embedded in the everyday habits of the Mediterranean people. From gastronomy, with the crucial influence of olive oil, to art and traditions, the social development of these areas has been largely shaped by the olive tree.
The traveller can experience the olive tree civilisation and become familiar with olive tree landscapes, products and traditions. Different cultural itineraries run through the countries of southern Europe and North Africa, from the Balkans to the Peloponnese in Greece, and extending to the Meknes region in Morocco. Even sea itineraries exist to highlight the importance of the maritime connection between the Mediterranean cities' harbours. Along the routes, different olive tree related activities are also organised, with exhibitions, concerts and product tasting events.
- Republic of North Macedonia