In Kalkanli on the North West coast of Cyprus is an area of ancient olive trees, believed to have been planted there in the Lusignan period in the 1200s. There are nearly 2000 trees there, their size and stature distinguishes them from other olive trees on the island, which is why they have the name “The Monumental Olive Trees”. It is estimated that there are 400 of the trees that are over 500 years old. The oldest trees are over 800 years old. The area is one of the most important projects in the Natura 2000 initiative and is under the protection of the European Union.
The Monumental Olive Trees may not be the first attraction you consider to visit when you are in North Cyprus, but it is absolutely one of the most powerful. The place really deserves to be better sign posted than it is today, with only two sun-bleached signs on the coastal road between Kalkanli and Tepebası. When you turn off the coastal road you end up on a small dirt road that you follow a kilometre before you come to an open gate that marks the beginning of the area. It is ok to drive a car on the road among the olive trees, but it is much better and more appealing to take a walk there. After a few minutes you will come to the oldest trees each with a sign next to their name and its age. It’s a special feeling to sit down on a bench in the shade of an 800 year old olive tree!
The area is really a living cultural and natural heritage and there are not only trees but lots of other flowers and plants, including rare orchids. Now that spring is here the Olive Trees are completely surrounded by yellow flowers. The ruins of Ayios Maenilos and Ayios Nicolaos church are also located in the area and are well worth a visit.
To find the way to The Monumental Olive Trees please see the map at the bottom of the page.