Today, saffron crocus is systematically cultivated in a unique area that encompasses many small villages
Did you know that Saffron, one of the world’s most costly spices by weight was first cultivated in Greece, by the ancient Minoans, during Late Bronze Age?
Although its cultivation disappeared from the country for hundreds of years, Greek Macedonian traders in the 17th century brought the plant from Austria to the region of Kozani.
Today, saffron crocus is systematically cultivated in a unique area that encompasses many small villages called Crocohoria (Crocus Villages) in the Kozani Prefecture.
Visitors lucky enough to visit this beautiful area in autumn have the opportunity to live the unique experience of harvesting the precious spice, a procedure that takes place between late October and early November.
Harvests are by necessity a speedy affair: after blossoming at dawn, flowers quickly wilt as the day passes. However, visitors find that this is a rewarding experience that offers a glimpse into the life of the locals.
Once the flowers are gathered, stigmas are separated from the rest of the flower in the workers’ house. Then, for better preservation, the stigmas are dried and take their final form as deep orange-red, rigid threads that are used in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent.