An olive tree in front of the Temple of Concordia on the island of Sicily, Italy
© Alfio Finocchiaro/Shutterstoc
A symbol of peace. World Olive Tree Day
The phrase, ‘extending an olive branch,’ has long been known as a gesture of peace and friendship, a sentiment that is at the heart of Unesco’s World Olive Tree Day, on 26 November. Created in 2019, the aim is to encourage the preservation of the olive tree itself, and the values it embodies.
Our homepage olive tree stands in front of the Temple of Concordia in Agrigento, Italy. This well-preserved, Greek Doric temple was built on what is now the south shore of Sicily, around 440 BCE. Olive trees are native to the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, where the vast majority of harvested olives are used to make olive oil, the heart of Mediterranean cuisine.
Although olive trees do not grow very tall, usually no more than 30ft (roughly 10m), they live a very long time. One of the oldest-known trees in the world, in Portugal, is believed to be 3,350 years old. Many live for millennia, their trunks growing thick and gnarled, and their branches bearing fruit century after century, as civilisations rise and fall around them.