Turkey’s first olive oil museum in Çanakkale
ÇANAKKALE – DHA
So it’s only appropriate that Turkey’s northwestern province of Çanakkale has the country’s first olive oil museum, where you can learn about hundreds of years of olive oil history and see hundreds of olive oil-related products.
Adatepe Olive Oil Museum displays more than 200 olive oil products from over 200 years ago and also dispels common misconceptions and myths about the ancient oil used in food across the Mediterranean and Middle East.
Founded in 2001 in Küçükkuyu district, the museum is a popular destination for those who are interested in olives, olive oil and olive oil production.
The museum also has a gift shop offering olive oil, soaps and other cosmetics made of the oil, which is packed with antioxidants, Vitamins A, D, E and K; and has antibacterial and moisturizing properties.
When founded in 2001 in Küçükkuyu district, the museum became the first in Turkey dedicated entirely to commemorating and celebrating the history of olive oil, said museum guide Mehmet Karaçam.
The museum building was originally built as a soap shop in 1960, where soaps made of olive oil were produced, Karaçam said.
“We took the building in 2001, restored it to its current condition. Later, we became affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism,” he said.
Nearly 50,000 people visit the museum annually.
“We try to correct false facts about olives and olive oil nearly as much as we can,” Karaçam said.
Mustafa Çakılcıoğlu said he and four other friends founded the museum after moving to Adatepe village and becoming interested in olive and olive culture.
“Our first factory was in Burhaniye. We came to Adatepe village from Burhaniye to be close to the production place,” Çakılcıoğlu said.
“First, we made this place a production line. We made production for many years in stone mill, press, clamp and then moved our production to another factory building. However, during the 20 years we had been producing, we have received many different materials related to olives and olive oil. The idea of exhibiting them came up.”
Many of the objects on display at the museum come from ancient times, the Ottoman period and the early periods of the Republic, he said. The collection is gradually increasing as the museum acquires more objects from auctions and donations.
Olive remains from 39,000 years ago
Karaçam said that the olive tree was the first among other trees.
“The olive tree has a long history. The last excavations on the Greek island of Santorini revealed the remains of olive trees dating back 39,000 years. It is said that the olive tree originated from Anatolia and spread to the world. Once the Italians and the Romans found it, they took it to their home country and the olive tree spread throughout the Mediterranean,” he said.
“We have a very important history and heritage in terms of olive trees, but unfortunately, the olive tree in our country is not appreciated enough. Most of the olive groves are sacrificed to construction companies to become summer houses.”
Karaçam said that the amount of olive oil consumed annually by one person in Turkey was much less than other countries.
“In our country, two liters of olive oil is consumed per person. The cost of this is about 60 Turkish Liras. We spend our money on many things, but when it comes to olive oil, we are a little stingy. Because we don’t recognize [the importance of] olive oil in our country. But thanks to boutique producers, olive oil is better known in our country,” Karaçam said.
And here’s a correction to one of the false facts many people believe:
“Contrary to common knowledge, you can also use olive oil for frying,” said Karaçam.
Çakılcıoğlu said he and the other founders have been producing olive oil for 20 years, and continued:
“We produce natural extra virgin olive oil and use selected olives. We don’t sell any olive oil other than our own production. We also sell regional olives. Another important production is the olive oil soap. We sell soaps produced by traditional methods. Some include organic certified essential oils. We export a certain part of these productions abroad, especially to Japan. When selling to Japan, the profitability rate is quite high, but this is too limited. Other than that, we continue our sales both in the domestic market and in the store.”