- The Park of the Aljafería in Zaragoza hosts the Garden of Peace, a joint initiative of CIHEAM Zaragoza, Zaragoza City Council and the Garden of Peace Association.
- Set in the surroundings of the Aljafería Palace, this new space is a Mediterranean symbol of peace and cooperation, composed of 22 olive trees from across the world.
An Empeltre olive tree in the centre of the garden | Photograph: thegardenofpeace.org
Trees are a living part of history. Some stories span centuries and others are just beginning, but the olive trees in the Garden of Peace will tell their stories together through a project undertaken by Zaragoza City Council upon the initiative of CIHEAM Zaragoza, based on the model of the Garden of Peace Association. The olive garden, a Mediterranean symbol of peace and cooperation, is located in an emblematic part of the city in the surroundings of the Aljafería Palace, a jewel of Hispano-Muslim art.
The garden has 22 olive trees from different parts of the world. The centre piece is an olive tree from the city of Zaragoza of the most common variety in Aragon – the Empeltre. The garden has a circular design, featuring olive trees from the World Olive Germplasm Bank: 21 varieties from 21 of the most prominent olive-growing countries in the world that provide 95 % of global production.
Francesco Serafini is president of the Garden of Peace Association and describes the new space: "In the centre, just as a mother watches over her children, is the ancient olive tree". The Association is based in Madrid and promotes this project, planting gardens of peace in different countries in an effort to use common elements between cultures to enhance peace and tolerance. To date, including Zaragoza, 6 gardens have joined the initiative (1 in Italy, 2 in Greece and 3 in Spain). Serafini goes on to say: “There are plans to include Toledo (Spain), Argentina, Brazil, and Jordan".
CIHEAM STRENGTHENS RELATIONS WITH THE CITY OF ZARAGOZA
For an organization like CIHEAM dedicated to cooperation in the Mediterranean, the Garden of Peace is full of symbolism. The project enables this intergovernmental organization to strengthen ties with the city of Zaragoza. A symbol of harmony, peace and prosperity, and a strategic crop in the Mediterranean region, the olive tree is very much present in the Organization’s activities and mission. In fact the olive is the centre feature of CIHEAM’s logo.
CIHEAM Zaragoza organizes the International Master in Olive Growing and Oil Technology with the University of Cordoba. This master’s trains professionals, technical specialists and managers in a key sector for all Mediterranean countries. It is a core element of a wide range of training and research activities in sustainable olive production.
Situated on the Campus of Aula Dei, one of the most prestigious agricultural research complexes in Spain, CIHEAM Zaragoza welcomes this joint endeavour with Zaragoza’s citizens and visitors by endorsing the Garden of Peace in the Park of the Aljafería as a future venue for activities related to Mediterranean agriculture and food in keeping with the values and mission of the Centre.
LIST OF COUNTRIES AND OLIVE VARIETIES
GARDEN OF PEACE – PARK OF THE ALJAFERÍA (ZARAGOZA, SPAIN)
🇦🇱 Albania: Mixani
🇩🇿Algeria: Chemlal de Kabylie
🇨🇾Cyprus: Kato Drys
🇫🇷France: Verdale de l'Hérault
🇲🇦Morocco: Picholine marocaine
🇵🇸Palestine: Nabala Baladi
🇪🇸Spain: Empeltre and Picual