Long-standing olive-growing tradition

Learn about growing and processing this plant which grows on poor soil, but has been known as a sacred tree and a symbol of peace, wisdom, victory and fertility since the ancient times. Try your hand at picking this magical fruit used for the production of oil, enjoy the numerous delicacies, and take the unforgettable taste of this liquid gold of the Mediterranean with you.

The first written proof of olive groves on Murter dates back to the 14th century. Land clearing and ploughing was a continued process connected to the steady growth of population and the expansion of land property to Kornati and Modrave. During Napoleon’s times, an order was issued saying that every man must plant around one hundred olive trees before he takes a wife. When Murterians came to Modrave, construction began on one of the largest olive groves in the Mediterranean, renowned for its high quality olive oil.

The golden age of olive-growing

According to a local folklore, a big step for the development of olive-growing on Murter happened when Franz Joseph I, the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire dropped anchor in one of the Kornati coves looking for shelter from the storm. He then took his men to land, where the local villagers took them in although they did not know who he was. They were poor, but hospitable, and they prepared a meal seasoned with homemade olive oil. Franz Joseph I was so moved by their actions that he offered them assistance in the form of an oil mill built in 1910, which was at the time the most modern in the whole of Dalmatia. The oil produced in this oil mill became widely renowned. The oil from Murter was used in the emperor's court in Vienna, and it was awarded a gold medal for quality at the prestigious international oil exhibition held in 1913 in Eix in France. Over 400,000 olive trees were processed on Murter, and 80 wagons of oil were produced annually. Three smaller family oil mills were built in the coming years, and an association of oil makers was established, thus facilitating the development of the olive-growing industry. Up until 1941 oil-growing was a significant source of income for the inhabitants of the wider Šibenik area, which includes the Murter municipality.

The agricultural association Kornati is active on Murter today.

Source: Turčinov, T.:Morfološka svojstva fenotipova masline 'Duška' i 'Vrhuljača' iz okolice Murtera, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, graduation thesis, 2012.