Those who are driving towards Ignalina or visiting Aukštaitija National Park simply must stop by the Museum of Ancient Beekeeping, situated in Stipeikiai village, where both the small children and adults will have a great experience.
A museum, established on the shore of Tauragna River is the only one of such kind in Lithuania, which cherishes the traditions of beekeeping. Bronius Kazlas, who had started this museum in 1984, probably did not expect that even after three decades the life of ancient beekeepers would be so interesting for the curious visitors who come to this museum.
The museum contains a total of six buildings with more than several hundred exhibits. Moreover, oak sculptures, telling the history of beekeeping from the ancient up to the current days can be found under the open sky. In this territory, the attention is immediately drawn to the statues of Lithuanian pagan gods responsible for the bees Babilas and Austėja – they were built here for preserving the spirit of the beekeeping museum. Other sculptures, depicting Lithuanian, Indian, Egyptian and American Indian myths are also very spectacular.
Upon arriving, you will be greeted by the employees of the museum, who are ready to reveal the most interesting facts about beekeeping, to show the beekeeping and crafting tools, exhibited in the museum as well as the ancient honey centrifuges. The museum also contains a lot of pictures and paintings, depicting plants which the bees use to bring honey.
Museum of Ancient Beekeeping also stores exhibits that have international political significance – a gift from the President of Ukraine Viktoras Juščenka to the President Valdas Adamkus – three presidential bee families.
The most anticipated event in the museum is the yearly honey-gathering season, which is celebrated on 15 of August. On this day, the place is full of music performed by the local musicians as well as ancient myths and legends. People come here to celebrate, taste and buy various types of honey as well as to receive advice from the herbalists and beekeepers. Therefore, if you would like to see the world of beekeeping up close, then come here on this special day.
The museum accepts visitors from 1 May until 30 September, everyday (except for Monday) from 10 AM to 6 PM. During the winter season, only larger groups of people are accepted by ordering the guided tour in advance. In case you come after the visiting hours, do not get disappointed as the bigger exhibition of the museum is under the open sky and you can look around it all year long for free. However, it is true that if you want to get to know more about beekeeping, you should return here another time.