Centuries-Old Trees Speak

As part of the Morias '21 celebrations for the 200 years since the beginning of the struggle for independence, the trees tell us stories of the Greek Revolution, 1821.

By Morias 21

The Trees of the Revolution by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

The Trees of the Revolution

The centuries-old trees of the Peloponnese are living witnesses to historic moments of the Greek Revolution of 1821. Olive, plane, oak, chaste and cypress trees have been recorded and integrated into the themed tours of the Morias ’21 program as living reminreminders of an illustrious past.

Map of Peloponese by Zaconian, T.C. Lotter edition by Homann Haeres-Old ColouringMorias 21

Scattered across the Morea, the trees serve as points of reference for visitors and locals alike.

Arcadia

1. Silver linden at Astros
2. Plane tree at Dimitsana
3. Oak tree at Doriza
4. Phoenician juniper forest around the Monastery of Malevi
5. Oak tree at Perithori
6. Plane tree at Magouliana
7. Plane Tree at Kerastari 

Messinia

 1. The Mother Olive of Kalamata
 2. Plane tree at Agios Floros 
 3. Olive trees at Vasilada 
 4. Papaflessas’ mulberry at Poliani 
 5. Plane tree at Chora 
 6. Papaflessas’ oak at Tambouria 
 7. Chaste tree at Kato Ambelokipi
 8. Lelonis’ oak 
 9. Plane of Arkadia Square, Kyparissia
10. Holm oaks at Monastery of Saint Nikitas, Sellas
11. Sycamore maple at Sidirokastro
12. Olive tree at Petrochori

Argolida

1. Olive tree at Nafplio
2. Plane tree at Nafplio
3. Kapodistrias’ palm tree 

Laconia

1. Plane tree at Arna
2. Olive trees at Molaoi

Corinthia

1. Plane tree at Monastery of Saint Vlassios
2. Cypress trees at Zacholi

Achaea

Plane Tree at Monastery of Agia Lavra

Holm oaks at Monastery of Saint Nikitas by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

The 27 trees offered the revolutionaries shade to rest; they ‘listened’ to conversations on the night before the battle; they were witnesses to bloody clashes and enemy reprisals, but also to glorious victories on the path to freedom.

Papaflessas’ oak at Tambouria by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Selected trees ‘speak’ and tell their stories…

Plane tree, Agios Floros by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Plane tree, Agios Floros

I grew next to crystal-clear water at the sources of the Pamisos river and I saw people laughing and resting beside me. How could I have ever imagined then that the laughter at some point stop during the ferocious persecution of the klephts around 1800.

The Mother Olive at KalamataMorias 21

The Mother Olive of Kalamata

Some say I am 850 years old. Others, 2,000 years old! Which is why I have been designated a protected Monument of Nature. I am also a mother. Yes, trees too can be mothers. I am the “Mana Elia”, the Mother Olive Tree. It is I who gives birth to the celebrated  Kalamata olives. I was fortunate because I survived the devastating fires of 1827 which ravaged the entire Peloponnese!  

Oak tree at Doriza by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Oak tree, Doriza

I am a great Kermes oak, great both in size and age. I have heard it said that I am about 500 years old and they have made me a protected Monument of Nature. I have lived glorious moments! On 12 and 13 May, 1821, I saw the battle at nearby Valtetsi! fighting raged continuously for 23 hours, before ending with the first decisive Greek military victory! How proud I felt!

Phoenician juniper forest by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Phoenician juniper forest, Monastery of Malevi

We are a large family! We are a Phoenician juniper forest; in fact, the only one of its kind in the whole of Europe! We are also a protected Monument of Nature. During the 1821 Revolution, the nearby Monastery of Malevi, because of its contribution to the Struggle, was put to the torch by the Egyptian-Ottoman forces of Ibrahim Pasha. The terrible fire destroyed everything. To this day, we wonder how we managed to escape the flames of war. 

Plane tree at Monastery of Saint Vlassios by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Plane tree, Monastery of Saint Vlassios

I am an enormous plane tree. I have stood here for hundreds of years and I have many stories to tell. I had the good fortune to witness the passion for freedom of the revolutionary Papaflessas, as he spoke with inspiration to the powerful local Notaras family.His words, true and from the heart, convinced them too to rise up against the conqueror!
And so it was that the Greeks, sharing a common vision and purpose, took up arms for freedom!

Chaste tree at Kato Ambelokipi, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Silver linden at Astros, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Plane tree at Monastery of Agia Lavra, V. Georgiadis, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Plane tree at Magouliana, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Olive tree at Nafplio, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Plane tree at Palaiochori, V. Georgiadis, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Olive tree at Petrochori by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Olive tree at Petrochori

Today I live at Petrochori, where I was brought with other olive trees so they could protect me. But I used to live in an elevated location overlooking Navarino Bay. Yes, I watched the historic naval battle on 20 October 1827. It was a tremendous experience. I saw the sea on fire! I saw men of different nationalities and hundreds of sailing ships in what turned out to be a decisive naval engagement. On that day, our destiny changed…

Olive trees at Molaoi by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Olive trees at Molaoi

We are survivors. We are the centuries-old olive trees of Molaoi. In 1825, when Ibrahim Pasha advanced and set up camp at Molaoi, our plain was destroyed by fire and became deserted. We do not know which is more painful: to survive and have the memories ‘burn’ you forever, or be reduced to ashes in an instant.

Plane tree at Nafplio by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Plane tree, Nafplio

At the time of the Greek Revolution, the town elders and chieftains gathered in my shade and I heard them making plans and devising strategies with great zeal and hope for their victory.

Lelonis’ oak at Filiatra by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Lelonis’ oak at Filiatra

Panagos Lelonis was always won an annual horse race. Irked by this, the local Ottoman authorities arrested him on a pretext and convicted him to death by hanging… from my branches, but he was rescued by his sweetheart, Krinio and when they were chased, they chchose to drown in each other’s arms in a lake, connected for ever.

Kapodistrias’ palm tree at Nafplio, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Mulberry at Poliani, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Oak tree at Perithori, V. Georgiadis, From the collection of: Morias 21
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The plane tree of Kyparissia by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

The plane of Arkadia Square, Kyparissia

It was before the Revolution. A young and very beautiful girl, Eleni, had unwittingly captured the heart of the local Ottoman ruler, the Aga. But Eleni’s heart belonged to another man, her betrothed, Avgerinos Houndras. So, she refused to marry the Aga, knowinknowing full well that she would pay the ultimate penalty – death. 

Cypress trees at Zacholi by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

7 cypress trees at Zacholi

Standing in the yard of the Holy Church of Saint George, we have been welcoming visitors for the past 200 years. We were planted in commemoration of a young man who was killed by the Aga as he was dancing at a fest!

Sycamore maple at Sidirokastro, V. Georgiadis, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Plane tree at Chora, V. Georgiadis, From the collection of: Morias 21
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Plane tree at Kerastaris by V. GeorgiadisMorias 21

Plane tree at Kerastaris

The freedom fighters made me a ‘messenger’ tree. I served as a communication channel for the revolutionaries, who exchanged secret messages by concealing them in tiny holes in my enormous trunk.

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