What is Beekeeping Tourism?
Slovenian beekeepers would like to open their homes and bee farms to Slovenian and foreign visitors and show them how they work with bees, what they learn from them and how they use the bounty of the hive to maintain health and optimism. They would like to extend visitors the opportunity to learn from their experiances, and perhaps to persuade some of them to join their ranks.
Tradition of Slovenian beekeeping
Beekeeping in Slovenia is a traditional agricultural activity and it has a great social importance in Slovenia as an agricultural sector. The bee accompanies us throughout life. In the childhood the bee symbolises diligence and care for others. When we grow up we admire its efficiency, social order and economy. When a man matures, it is useful to seek additional anchors, hobbies and finding interest not only in work and maintenance of our homes. One of the hobbies strengthening our mind and our body is also beekeeping, since bees and the care for them can be the best medicine for stress and ailments we experience due to the current rapid pace of life.
Beekeeping in Slovenia has a long tradition. More than 230 years ago, the first teacher of beekeeping in imperial Vienna, Anton Janša (1734-1773), presented the knowledge of the Slovenian rural small farmer to the world. We have more than 7,000 beekeepers in Slovenia, most of who are members of the Slovenian Beekeepers Association.
Slovenian native bee - Carniolan bee
Slovenia is the only European Union Member State to have protected its native bee, the Carniolan bee (Apis mellifera carnica). The Carniolan bee is famed for its docility, hard work, humility and excellent sense of orientation. So it is this bee that is one of the rare internationally recognised and protected features of our country.
This breed of bee is regarded as the second most widespread bee breed in the world. For this reason special attention is devoted to preserving and cultivating the pure Carniolan bee, which is also regarded as part of the natural and cultural heritage of Slovenia.
Painted beehive panels have become a valued ornament on Slovenian hives and hives have become typical in Slovenian rural architecture, their appearance enriches the cultural aspect of the Slovenian landscape even today.
The art of painting beehive panels is not known anywhere else in the world. The beginnings of this folk art can be traced back to the middle of the 18th century. The smooth wooden panels on the front of bee houses posed a challenge for numerous folk artists, and this gave rise to fascinating images that turned simple bee houses into veritable open-air art galleries. The pictures on individual bee houses of course also helped the bees in their orientation, and made it easier for the beekeeper to remember individual houses.
Slovenia’s museums have preserved a good number of original paintings from which countless replicas have been made - new beehive panels done in the antique style are among the more original Slovenian tourist souvenirs. Numerous Slovenian beekeepers still like to decorate their bee houses to this day along the old patterns, but using modern motifs.
Most important Slovenian Beekeping Routes
The most important sites that one should visit is the Beekeeping Centre at Brdo pri Lukovici. Many local people and foreign guests also like to see the Beekeeping Museum in Radovljica, which is unique in the world, while in nearby Breznica stands Janša’s bee house, which is supposedly just like the one that was there more than 200 years ago. There are also numerous beekeeping attractions in all of Slovenia’s other regions.
Visits of the sites also include numerous natural, cultural and other attractions of an individual region as possible.
Source: Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and Slovenian Beekeepers Association.
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