Olive tree as a way of life in the Albanian Riviera ERIDA CURRAJ
Author: PhD researcher Erida Curraj
Affiliation: Polis University, Tirana Albania
The olive tree has a long historical tradition in Albania and is central to everyday life, particularly in the Albanian Riviera and in the southern region of the country. The tree is even believed to be sacred. This paper explores the centrality of the olive tree, its origins, multiple functions and symbolism in the Albanian Riviera. Through observation in the countryside of the Albanian Riviera and in-depth interviews with the local community, this paper provides insights regarding the various approaches towards the olive tree in the current dynamics of the Albania Riviera in terms of: symbolism, handcrafting and DIY, multi-functioning and landscape and, architecture. The research demonstrates that the status of the olive tree as sacred is transmitted orally from a generation to another as part of the cultural heritage elements including traditions, customs, values and norms. In addition, olives serve many functions in the everyday life of communities in the Albanian Riviera, from nourishment to health and beauty. Moreover, the olive tree is embedded in architecture and landscapes from home gardens to graveyards and churches. Handcrafts and furniture made of olive tree is becoming rare due to the difficulty of working with the wood. The research shows that given the centrality of the olive tree in the everyday life of the Albanian Riviera, it is necessary to develop appropriate protection practices and enrich the cultivation of the olive tree.
BARTOLINI, G., and PETRUCELLI, R., (2002). Classification, Origin, Diffusion and History of the Olive, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
BESNARD, G. et.al, (2013). ‘The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant’, Proceedings of the Royal Society, 280: 20122833.
ÇELA, Piro (2009). Ulliri : një punim për fermerët, Vlorë: Triptik.
CELA, R., MARKU, Sh., and IMAMI, D., (2010). ‘Review of agriculture and agricultural policy in Albania’, in Volk, T., (Ed)., Agriculture in the Western Balkan
Countries, Leibniz: Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe IAMO, Vol. 57.