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Olive Oil Museum of Sparta

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The museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil was founded by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (P.I.O.P.) in the heart of Laconia, one of the main olive producing locations of Greece. The museum is housed in the old Sparta Electric Company building and hopes to guide visitor through the long history of the olive and the olive oil, while at the same time presenting the efforts to preserve the traditional olive oil production technology.

The first floor includes the first testimonials of the existence of the olive tree in Greece, the olive’s role in nutrition, in body care, the customs and traditions and its constant presence in art. The lower floor consists of the post-byzantine technology of the olive mills and a section about domestic and industrial soap-making. In the open-air exhibition the visitor can wander around the three different oil press machines, one prehistoric, one Hellenistic and one byzantine.

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The first of its kind, the museum aims to illustrate the high importance of these two goods for Greece.

The Museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta, was founded by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (P.I.O.P) were the Old Sparta Electric Company once used to be housed. In the heart of Laconia, one of the main olive producing locations of Greece, this museum was constructed in order to illustrate the culture and the olive oil producing technology.

The upper floor of the museum presents the first testimonials of the olive as well as its contribution to the economy from prehistoric times up to the 20th century. The first written testimonies date back to the 14th century, on Linear B inscribed tablets, while there are also exhibits of rare fossilized olive leaves approximately 50.000-60.000 years old, that were found in the Thera Caldera. Visitors can find information about the role of olive in nutrition, body care but also about its symbolic presence in religion, mythology, customs and traditions. The unit concludes with a brief presentation of the position of the olive in Greek art and how it constitutes inspiration for artistic expression from the ancient times until today.

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The museum’s ground floor is devoted to the development of the olive oil production technology from Antiquity until the early industrial era. It also exhibits the technology of the post-byzantine mechanisms while emphasis has been placed on the revival of the powered olive oil presses using large working models. Furthermore, there is a special unit that presents domestic and industrial soap-making.

In the semi open-air exhibition as part of its educational programs, visitor can see three different presses, one prehistoric, one Hellenistic and a Byzantine one. The Museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta is the first of its kind in Greece and is part of the Museums of the Olive in the Mediterranean network.