In Greek mythology, minor god Aristaeus is credited as the first beekeeper. It is said that the Muses taught him the art, in addition to cheese making and olive growing. He in turn taught these useful crafts to the inhabitants of the places he visited, among which the island of Kea, located just an hour away from Lavrion.
In the 6th century BCE, beekeeping in the Athenian territory was so intense, according to Plutarch, that statesman Solon passed a law so as to set the distance between bee hives at 100 metres. In fact, Strabo (1st cent. BC) informs us about the quality of the honey produced in Lavreotiki: "though the Attic honey is the best in the world, that in the country of the silver mines is said to be much the best of all" (Geographica). The unique floral diversity in combination with the climate are responsible for the rich aromas and delicious taste of its honey.
Contemporary visitors have the opportunity to learn all about the art of beekeeping and beehive products at the Honey Festival, which is organized by the municipality and local producers. Introduced in 1999, a two-day festival takes place in Keratea, a town near Lavrion, at the beginning of September. During the two-day festival, beehive products are on display along with other delicacies and sweets made with honey. Local beekeepers are more than willing to share the secrets of their craft and discuss the health benefits not only of honey, but also of royal jelly, pollen and propolis, these widely recognized superfoods. Sweet tooth or not, the Honey Festival is worth visiting, as it is a true celebration – music and dance included!