Saturday, June 21, 2014

Olive trees of over 900 years

After seeing the Garden of Gethsemane from outside its Franciscan walls in the previous post, some readers wished to see the inside.

Olive tree trunks' rings are difficult to count.
So recently carbon dating was used to determine the age of these venerable trees in the garden where (tradition says) Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion.

Three of the trees were found to be from the years 1092, 1166, and 1198.
 The study was made by the National Research Council of Italy Trees and Timber Institute and by academics from five Italian universities.

See the pillar of stones supporting this leaning tree?
You can enlarge the photos to see better.
It was 7:45-8:00 in the evening when I was there.

The garden is next to the Church of Gethsemane, properly known as the Basilica of the Agony, popularly known as the Church of All Nations.

These olive trees are among the oldest known to science.
But to the pilgrims who pray there, a century more or less is not what moves them, sometimes to tears.
Here is more about the recent study, and Wikipedia has more about Gethsemane.


Hels said...

I love the silvery, shimmery colour of olive trees, especially from a distance. They seem mystical.

VP said...

Olive trees do have rings exactly like any other tree, but they are extremely difficult to count for many reasons...

Dina said...

Hels, agreed, they are very special.

VP, OK, thanks. Just goes to show I should never trust quotes I pick up on the Internet.

Dina said...

VP, I changed the text accordingly.

William Kendall said...

Beautiful trees, Dina. And such a lovely setting for them.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for showing these trees. Is this the place we were on one of our walks to the Franciscan convent?
I often think of my stay near your apartment.
Hope to see you once in Holland!

Dina said...

William, yes indeed.

Wil, this church we saw from across the street, across the Valley of Kidron, when we walked from the Dung Gate (where the line to the security for the Western Wall was so long) to the Lions Gate.

Kay said...

What an incredible place. I can see why it must move people to tears.

Sara said...

So interesting to know the true age of some of them. They were little saplings a very long time ago!

Birdman said...

I'd get my camera closer to that trunk. I was going to ask about the color.

Petrea Burchard said...

A wonderful view inside.

Dina said...

Sara, some surmise that the Romans cut down the original olive trees in the garden as they were destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE.
But olive trees are able to push up new life from their roots, so maybe these trees' origins are from several thousand years ago.

Birdman, I'd like to go closer too, but they don't allow people into the inner garden (unless you know the right people).

Karl Demetz said...

Only 900 years? I thought at least over 2000 ! :)
Thanks for this post, Dina!

José Mendonça said...

Aren't old Olive Trees simply amazing?!

Jackie @ travelnwrite said...

I was so taken with this grove of trees when we visited and partly because of our new adventure in Greece. (We have a grove of 17 trees). I took numerous photos because I now want to plant blooms beneath and near our trees like here. I also loved the information you provided about the trees because our tour guide was busy with other details. Glad I 'met' you today!!