Treebeekeeping recognized as part Intangible Cultural Heritage in Poland

14 th of October 2016 in Krakow (Poland) , the delegates from Bractwo Bartne / Fratrum Mellicidarum , received the decision of Minister of Culture and National Heritage of recognizing tree-beekeeping (bartnictwo) as part of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Poland. Delegation was leaded by Piotr Pilasiewicz, the founder of Bractwo Bartne and board member of Tree Beekeeping International. With this nomination treebeekeeping was officially recognize as part of culture and tradition of Poland, it is second country in Europe after Belarus that recognize it as part of National Intangible Cultural Heritage

-The treebeekeeping have more than 1000 years of history in Poland, the golden era of this profession was in Middle Ages up to XVI and XVII century. When territory of modern Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine was one country of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, since 19th century, the tradition of treebeekeeping was replaced, almost entirely by standard beekeeping, or simply banned by the authorities. It survived in many remote villages in Belarus and northern Ukraine. Also we ménage to find and prove the few tiny links to the great past of the treebeekeeping tradition on the area of modern Poland. We found and interview the last few peoples in Poland, from Kurpie region and Augustów Forest who preserved pieces of treebeekeeping traditions in they family traditions, the tradition of live and work with respect to nature and with obey of her laws. One of them Mr. Niemkiewicz from Augustow Forest. He was learned by his father beekeeping in log hives which they bring back from forest’s many decades ago, but till 70′ of XX century they did only this kind of beekeeping. Mr. Niemkiewicz was together with us in Krakow that day, when we celebrate the recognize of treebeekeeping as part of Polish history, tradition and culture.– said Piotr Pilasiewicz

Recognizing local folklore concerning treebeekeeping and preservation of the remains of this traditions in Eastern Europe is also an important mission of TBI.

Treabeekeeping (PL bartnictwo) is a set of practices, knowledge and traditions concerning honey bees, they habits, preferences and behaviors. It is based on belief that honey bees are better off living high above ground and man should not interfere with the development of the bee family. The treebeekeepers makes hollows in the trunks of living trees (tree-hive) or in a logs (log-hive), intended for bees to set in. Treebeekeepers visit they hives rarely, only few times a year. The honey collecting is always in Autumn, traditionally after the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8th September), only small amount of honey can be collected, rest should stay for the bees. It’s also a believe that only a righteous and honest man could keep the bees. For depositories of this tradition, the status of a treebeekeeper is something to be proud of.




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Tree beekeeping exhibition in Warszawa

At 27th of January in National Ethnographic Museum in Warszawa an important event for promoting and recognizing treebeekeeping was held. Exhibition “European treebeekeepers…” by prof. Krzysztof Hejke was launched. We are very proud that our foundation Bractwo Bartne / Fratrum Mellocidarum had the input in preparation of the exhibition and it launch by financial and essentially support for the author. Exhibition is showing also our Vision of treebeekeeping as an common element of culture, history and heritage of Slavic nations, common to Belarusians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Poles. What more important treebeekeeping never extinct there! For example till now there’s still more than 800 log hives on the trees across Belorussia. For our organization this is the source of inspiration, knowledge for our activities. This exhibition we also consider as a first step to officially recognize treebeekeeping as an part of our national heritage.



Opening of the exhibition start at 15:00, and despite it was a middle of the working day it gathered about 150 spectators. For invitation of Bractwo Bartne plenty of people engaged in treebeekeeping from across Poland arrived: starting from Upper Silesia, Spala, Białowieża National Park, Wigry National Park and Augustow Forest. There was even an beekeeper from Pinsk in Belorussia who came specially for this event. Among guest was many representing of beekeepers associations, delegations from Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, prof. Mariusz Grzegorzek rector of Łódź Film School and Wojciech Walulik mere of Augustow, one of the hubs of new days treebeekeeping in Poland.

Exhibition is located on second floor of the museum and it’s consist from 2 big rooms and fragment of hall all together around 150m2. Expect photos showing treebeekeepers at work from those country while climbing, hanging loges or working with bees on the trees You can find there original log hives bring from North east Poland Lithuania and Belarusia as well as original tools and climbing equipment still in use in our East neighbours. Although on the exhibition we can find not only traditions but also very interesting shots from bees in the trees like rear photos of bees living in the natural hollowed in the lime tree made from inside the hive, and transmission broadcasted live from the log hive. All together the exhibition is wonderful journey through history, tradition and nature aspects of treebeekeeping.

Exhibition could be seen in Warszawa in National Ethnographic Museum till 29th of February, later we hope to move it to other towns and transfer it abroad with help of Tree Beekeeping Internationally.

Piotr Piłasiewicz