The area has been populated since prehistoric times; the ancient city of Pteleon is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, and several tombs from the Mycenean period survive between Pteleos and Agioi Theodoroi.
The current settlement lies to the north and land-inward of the ancient and medieval settlements in the area. An ancient settlement, which survived until early Byzantine times, was located on the southern coast of the Bay of Pteleos near the modern village of Achilleion, where a mosaic floor and remains of two early Christian basilicas have been found. The medieval settlement was located on the northern part of the Bay, near the modern village of Pigadi, and is attested for the first time in 1192, when “wine from Pteleos” (οἶνοςΠτελεατικός) is mentioned as being traded in Constantinople.
The name itself is amongst the few which have been preserved since ancient times. Ptelea = elm tree was according to beliefs of that time a holy tree and according to the legend “The elm tree rose on the grave of Protesilaos” who had been killed in the Trojan War. Homer, the great poet, on the other hand, does not refer to the area as a region with elm trees. On the list of ships which took part in the conquest of Troy, Pteleos is referred as “lehepii (Lehos Ancient Greek, which is interpreted as ‘bed’ and “pii” means “poa, hloi” meaning greenness, green vegetation) which should lead us to believe that Pteleos was situated in a landscape full of “lush pastures”.
In the era of the Byzantine Empire vine and excellent wines were abundant in the surroundings of Pteleos and as has been said “The wine of Pteleos flows as a precious produce in the Queen of all cities (Constantinople) regarded as a contemporary champagne (sparkling wine)”. In the 15th century Pteleos was called Ftelia or Ftelio.
HIGH BIODIVERSITY REGION
The area has a great biodiversity and is a huge fauna & flora natural settler. Our olive groves sustain wild olive trees, wild plants, shrubs and local fruit-bearing trees which host and feed insects, birds and other small wild animals. Olive trees and wildlife exist side by side inside a well-balanced system where there is place for all forms of wild natural life. Many of the wild plants inside olive groves, such as Cistus Invanus and Balsam, have played an important role since ancient times in pharmacy and human health. As, lately, the impact of poor application of intensive agriculture begins to be felt, the public begins to accept that improving the quality of agricultural products is essential.
Trees are the foundation of Pteleos, from the very ancient times and the basis of the estate. Fruit bearing trees produce exceptional natural foods for human consumption. Wild trees are concentrated in small forests that spread among and around the olive groves and in some cases frame local streams. In this way they affect the climate, wild life and human society.
Although changes have been taking place in the region due to intensive olive tree cultivation, indigenous fruit bearing trees can be found around the olive land giving it a unique color especially during spring time. Their fruits were for centuries the sole feeding source for agricultural families and the home animals that they keep for their business and feeding needs. Sour cherry trees, wild pear trees , wild apple trees, fig trees and many others are an inseparable part of the olive groves.
These fruit bearing trees are still a major fruit source for local residents due the high nutritional value , superior taste and aromas which are rarely found around the globe.
Edible wild herbs are grown in olive groves mainly during winter time .They have been an excellent feeding source for local families for centuries. Sonchus (Sonchusoleraceus), thistle, Silybummarianum, piggy, Urticadioica and many more have been part of their daily nutrition not only due to the high nutritional value but also mostly for their great taste. Very importantly they are also a natural way of medicine with high therapeutic properties. They were known to the ancient Greeks for their medicinal properties as can be found in the writings of the great ancient botanist Theophrastus. The wild grasses grown in the fields are particularly rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, ω-3 fatty acids and α-linolenic acid, which contribute significantly to the body’s antioxidant capacity.
Olive trees and wildlife exist in a well-balanced system where there is place for all forms of wild natural life. There are many wild plants & shrubs that provide a natural settlement for small animals and additionally are the basis for natural pharmaceutical preparations . Cistus Invanus and St John’s Wort, have played an important role since ancient times in pharmacy and human health.
Hypericum perforatum or St John’s Wort or commonly the balsam is a flowering plant of the genus Hypericum and is a medicinal herb with antidepressant activity and strong anti-inflammatory properties. Cistus Invanus leafs have the highest polyphenol content of any other plant in Europe, with a surprising ability to destroy free radicals and a high antioxidant effect.
Wild plants and small trees constitute many complex natural settlements hosting birds, bees, rabbits rare butterflies and many other species. These small ecosystems are vital for wild nature’s survival but they also enormously affect the quality of all natural goods. The existence of small wild animals in olive landscapes depends solely on healthy soil and nature-friendly cultivation practices. It is an interaction between human activities, the natural environment & climate conditions. But humans gain the most benefits in terms of health.
This ideal local micro-climate and the long time olive growing experience gave us the big opportunity to proceed further and evolve olive growing outcomes in terms of quality and identity. We use research, science and technology to understand in depth the relationship between land location, soil, weather and cultivation practices and how these can lead us to the production of high-quality health supportive olive goods.
According to the bioclimatic classification this region corresponds to the “Meso-Mediterranean” belt. The, primarily, leptosol soils are shallow and poor in organic material, with an acidic pH. These edaphoclimatic limitations determine the low yield of the olive trees of around 1,000 kg of olives/ha. The mountain olive groves’ main characteristic is where they are planted – on very steep slopes, with an average incline of between 30% and 40%, which means production costs are much higher than those for olive groves planted in lowland areas.
However, the olive grove is a very important economic resource in the region, as it provides work in the form of olive grove harvesting and management, and is an income supplement for families with small farms (between 5 and 30 ha.). Many owners and managers of larger farms depend solely on olive cultivation. However, the high costs of olive grove harvesting and management, excessively low initial pricing, competition with other more intensive farming, policies that are not overly sensitive to the reality of the olive grove, etc., mean that this agroecosystem is at serious risk of abandonment.