The island of Crete and its beekeeping tradition
Crete is the largest island in Greece and it is located on the southern end of the Aegean Sea. It is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It borders the Cretan Sea to the north and the Libyan Sea to the south.
The oldest European civilization, the Minoan civilization (3000 BC – 1400 BC) developed on the island of Crete and its main centres were Knossos and Phaistos.
The Cretan mountains
The island has three large mountain ranges: the White Mountains or Lefka Ori (2.453 m), the Idi Range or Psiloritis (2.456 m) and the Dikti Mountains (2.148 m). The mountains cover 52% of the island and thus, it is evident that Crete is a mountainous area.
The White Mountains or Maderes are located on the western side of Crete. The Idi Range or Psiloritis is situated in the centre of the island and its highest peak is Timios Stavros, while the Dikti Mountains can be found between Irakleio and Lasithi.
The island of Crete is characterized by a mild climate and the level of moisture ranges depending on the proximity to the sea. The winter is mild with plenty of rainfall and mountainous areas are usually covered with snow.
Crete and beekeeping
According to the myth, Melissa was a nymph, as well as Zeus’ nurturer. She was also the daughter of the first king of Crete, Melissea, and she taught the art of beekeeping to the Cretans. It is obvious that beekeeping has a prominent position in the Cretan tradition. It is worth mentioning that the clothing of a Minoan woman had 7 belts symbolizing the 7 belts/stripes that appear on a bee’s abdomen.
The Cretan honey stands out because of its exquisite quality. The large variety of aromatic herbs that exist on the island favors the growth of beekeeping and the production of an especially aromatic type of honey. Thyme, pines and citrus fruit can be seen on the island and thus, the beekeepers produce tasteful thyme honey, pine honey and honey from citrus fruit.
The Terre D’ Olympe honey comes from the mountains of beautiful Crete and more particularly, from the White Mountains and the peaks of Sfakia and Selinos. Thanks to the rich Cretan beekeeping tradition, the Terre D’ Olympe honey is of high quality and it stands out with its incredible flavor and pleasant aroma.