Ermioni is located on the southeastern coast of Argolida (Argolis) in Peloponnese. The city is characterized as a city-island because it is built across a peninsula, embraced by the Aegean sea. Legend says, that it was founded by Ermionas, a mythical hero, and was dedicated to Hermes, the god of transitions and boundaries, best known as emissary and messenger of the gods. During the Mycenaean era, the city was honoured to Hermione, the daughter of King Menelaus of Sparta. During the classical ages of Greece, Ermioni was well known for its agriculture, the ship-building and the production of porphyra, a deep red dye. Porphyra was used for dyeing the cloaks and tunics of the Greek armies.
Today, the municipality of Ermioni organizes the festival of olive oil every October, as a tribute to the central role of olive trees in the country’s economy and agricultural development. The festival aims also to highlight and promote the excellent quality of Kranidi’s county olive oil, which is registered within the European Union as PDO “KRANIDI ARGOLIDAS” since 1996.
The custom of the wild olive tree
In ancient Greece, the winners at the Olympic Games were crowned with an olive wreath, also known as “kotinos”. The twigs used for the making of the olive wreath came exclusively from wild olive trees that were forbidden to prune and to collect their olive fruits as they were considered sacred.
After almost 25 centuries, the custom is still alive. A wild olive tree, usually very old and well cultivated, but never pruned or harvested, can be found outside of every house and church in the region of Ermioni.