Bee Houses in Toros Mountains: A Rural Building Culture TOROSLARDA ARI EVLERİ: KIRSAL BİR YAPI KÜLTÜRÜ

Yilmaz Erkovan N., ÖZGENEL L.

Milli Folklor, vol.133, pp.188-206, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 133
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: Milli Folklor
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.188-206
  • Keywords: Alanya, Bee house, Beekeeping, Konya, Rural architecture
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, Milli Folklor Dergisi. All rights reserved.The harvest of honey, which started to be produced in the early ages of human existence, has been done with different techniques throughout history. With the transition of human societies to settled life, honey has gained importance as a commercial material and the protection of hives has emerged as a necessity in the production of honey. For this purpose, methods varying according to the region have been developed. By placing the hives made of such different materials as baskets, wood and ceramics on the high walls of caves, between tree branches, in the niches built into garden walls and house walls, the honey production environments became protected against climate, theft and wild animal attacks. Beekeeping culture has established its own spatial and cultural context over time, following the development of a building type specific for the use of bees. In this context, dif-ferent types of structures that served the same purpose, and built in line with local resources and needs, have emerged. These structures, which are called “bee houses” in this study, are original examples of rural architecture and are constructed by using completely local materials and construc-tion techniques. Bee houses form a unique typology in the rural landscape and differ from other such rural buildings as mosques, fountains, village mansions, granaries, wells, poultries, barns, haystacks and graveyards, not only in terms of form and function, but also in terms of being con-structed with local materials that allow for rebuilding with the same materials when demolished. These structures are found over a wide geography and show different construction techniques. The bee houses in the Mediterranean basin are commonly built with a high body consisting of masonry stone walls with wooden beams and without mortar, and a wooden platform with wide eaves placed on this body, which is used to stack hives. The hives piled on this platform are protected against the weather conditions with a coating/cover made of wood, sheet metal or barks. There are bee houses that are built by constructing wooden platforms at a certain height on trunks of tall trees, which is more economical than building rubble stone body and a wood platform. Another type of bee house is the one that lacks a body but has a surrounding wall. Despite its frequent occurrence in the rural landscape however, bee houses that are currently used in different regions of Turkey have been relatively little documented; most recent studies include the bee houses found in Elmalı, Korkuteli, Teke Region in the West, and Gazipaşa in the east of Antalya. This study takes the bee house as a component of rural culture and documents the bee houses identified during the field surveys carried out in rural Alanya, in the east of Antalya and Konya. It samples the bee houses in terms of con-struction technique, material use and architectural form, and presents an evaluation on the bee house typology and local beekeeping culture in the context of Mediterranean basin.