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The oldest room of Modique was decorated on the theme of the olive tree, known in Maltese as siġra taż-Żebbuġ

The olive tree had its origins some 20–40 million years ago in the area of Italy and the eastern Mediterranean region. The olive plant was first cultivated some 7,000 years ago in Mediterranean regions.There are 2,000-year-old olive trees on the island of Malta, Bidnija, which have been protected since 1933, and are also listed in UNESCO's Database. The Olive tree is one of the most beloved, sacred trees and its place is firmly rooted in Maltese tradition.  

Traditionally, the Olive tree is a symbol of peace and friendship, this association began in ancient Greece, as early as the fifth century.

Olive trees require little in terms of nutrition, as they have evolved over the centuries from poor, stony soils.  They are incredibly drought tolerant, and if allowed to grow naturally, may reach a height of 2 metres in 15 years.

Olive trees themselves are renowned for living for thousands of years.  Eating their fruits was meant to be a sure way for humans to live a long and healthy life.

Historically, olive oil is a cultural feat visible in many aspects of our culture from the trees across our landscape to the names of towns like Zebbug in Gozo, Haz-Zebbug in Malta and iz-Zejtun in Malta.

© Hermine Sammut 2020