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Slovenia eagerly awaits first World Bee Day

Žirovnica, 10 December - Slovenia eagerly awaits the UN's decision to declare 20 May World Bee Day to honour the birthday of pioneer beekeper Anton Janša (1734-1773). If this widely supported initiative succeeds, the first World Bee Day will be celebrated enthusiastically in Janša's village of Breznica, known as the cradle of Slovenian beekeeping.

Brdo pri Lukovici.
Bees hives.
Photo: Tina Kosec/STA

The UN Economic and Financial Committee unanimously backed the resolution on declaring 20 May World Bee Day in mid-November, a decision that now awaits a formal confirmation from the UN General Assembly, expectedly on 20 December.

As part of Slovenia's preparations for the celebration of the first World Bee Day, Janša's memorial beehives in the village of Breznica na Gorenjskem in northern Slovenia were renovated in the past few months.

The goal of the project led by the Žirovnica Institute of Tourism and Culture and co-funded by the Ministry of Culture was to make the beehives look like they did in Janša's time.

Being a painter, Janša decorated the fronts of his hives with elaborate paintings, which were now refurbished.

The beehives, considered an important part of the Slovenian beekeeping heritage, used to be covered with wood, but now they got the original straw roof while inside the original clay floor was restored.

"This important and recognisable element of the rich Slovenian beekeeping heritage is thus now again a part of our town's tourist offering and a centrepiece of our beekeeping tourism," the Žirovnica institute has said.

Janša's beehive in Brezovica is a reconstruction of the former structure that stood at Janša's farm until 1877, when it fell into disrepair and a new one was built in its place.

The Municipality of Žirovnica also planned to set up a honeybee park in Breznica for the World Bee Day celebration, but due to delays in the drawing of EUR 300,000 in grants for the EUR 700,000 project the park will not be built on time.

Janša was born as the third of nine children and baptised on 20 May 1734. He was schooled in the Habsburg capital of Vienna to become a painter, but decided to dedicate his life to beekeeping.

In 1770, he became the first royally appointed teacher of apiculture for all Austrian lands, as Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa appointed him the head of the first beekeeping school in Vienna.

Drawing from a hundred-year tradition of beekeeping, he laid the foundations of modern beekeeping.

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© STA, 2017