Greece’s “black gold”
Black currants were once known as the “Greek black gold”. In the past centuries, the product’s consumption was widely spread both in Greece and abroad, as its’ wrinkled flesh hides a true nutritional treasure. Cultivation was systematic in the regions of Corinth, Achaia, Elea, Kefalonia and Zakynthos. In the 19th century, raisin export accounted for 75% of the country’s total exports to Europe and its trade was essential for the reconstruction of the Greek State.
In the late 19th century, under the railway development plan envisioned by Charilaos Trikoupis, the construction of the first railway began in the Peloponnese. In November 1882, the steam railway made its very first trip, transporting the precious local “black gold” from Pyrgos to the Port of Katakolo. The port was also built in the 19th century, as a stepping stone to Europe, to support the growing export of Greek raisins, in increasing quantities demanded by the Europeans. Since then, every year the reception of the first train that led the raisin harvest to the harbor was marked by a glorious celebration.
In the golden years of the raisin trade, the Greek railway played an important role in promoting the product, developing commerce in the Peloponnese and supporting the country’s exports abroad.
Nowadays, the area of Katakolo is bustling in the summer months, receiving thousands of cruise-boat tourists that arrive to the port. And the Katakolo train, one of TRAINOSE’s special tourist trains, is the preferred means used by locals and tourists to get from Katakolo to the city of Pyrgos and the site of ancient Olympia.