Museum of Olive and Greek Oil

The Museum of Olive and Greek Oil, in Sparta, takes you on a journey through the culture, history and technology of olives and olive production in Greece, from prehistoric times to the early 20th century.
The aim of the Museum is to illuminate the inseparable connection of the olive tree with the identity of our place, and in general with the Mediterranean area. Olive and oil are presented here from different angles: economy, nutrition and uses, religious worship, art and technology.

At the Museum of Olive and Greek Oil in Sparta you have the opportunity to see the first testimonies about the presence of the olive and the production of oil in Greece:
  • Rare fossilized olive leaves, 50,000-60,000 years old, from Santorini, the oldest finds that prove the presence of an olive tree in Greece
  • Linear B plates of the 14th century BC. (exact copies), with the first written testimonies about the olive and the oil

In every historical period you will find the contribution of olives and oil to the economy and daily life: nutrition, body care, but also forgotten uses, such as lighting. You will also see how the olive tree takes on a symbolic dimension in the mythology, religion, customs and traditions of the Greeks. Samples of ancient and modern art demonstrate the place of the olive tree in art and how it has been, and remains, a constant source of inspiration for Greek artists.

Downstairs watch the evolution of olive oil production technology from antiquity to the early industrial period. Here you will see:
  • Exact copies from prehistoric, Hellenistic and Byzantine olive mills
  • Impressive wooden double press with winch from the neighboring Xirokambi
  • Olive mill from Lefkada, which documents the survival of animal life during the 20th century
  • Models representing the operation of motorized olive mills

Another section is devoted to soap making, domestic and industrial: from the large harani, still used by old housewives to make soap, to the industrial cauldrons of industries.

Interests for children, younger visitors have the opportunity to see three old mills:
  • Prehistoric olive mill
  • Hellenistic olive mill
  • Byzantine olive mill

They can also observe large moving models, representing motorized olive mills:
  • Water-powered olive mill
  • Steam-powered mill
  • Oil-powered olive mill

The Museum organizes educational programs with games and activities, for schools and the general public, such as the program "A day at the Hellenistic olive mill", where students extract oil "in the ancient way".