Castle Bled in Slovenia

by Kshaunish Jaini

The land of Europe was built in the span of centuries, as a result of politics, war, kingships and conquests. Some of the remnants of this long and rich history are still with us in the form of monuments that don’t fail to enchant us even after hundreds of years. The present day Republic of Slovenia is one such significant place, that has historically been in the crossroads of South Slavic, West Slavic, Germanic, Romanic and Hungarian cultures. It has been a part of many state formations, including the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. During the middle ages, the land was populated by the Carantians, who ruled as the vassals of the Bavarians. It is around this time that one of the most significant monuments in the land of Slovenia was commissioned and built - Castle Bled.

Read about - lake bled in winter

Located in the picturebook town of Bled, the Bled Castle is instantly recognizable as it sits precariously perched on a precipice overlooking the magnificent lake underneath. The town, the lake and the castle are some of the most popular travel destinations for tourists across Slovenia and abroad, and have become icons of sorts. They are located in close proximity to the Triglev National Park, surrounded by the Julian Alps and the Karavanke mountains which serve a dual purpose - providing cover from the harsh, chilly winds from the north and offering great rock climbing and bouldering spots for enthusiasts. Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia, with mentions of it found in the 11th Century. Parts of the castle were built and rebuilt throughout the subsequent centuries all the way up to the 17th, when the castle was adorned with illusionist frescoes that can still be observed.

Bled Castle Slovenia

History of Castle Bled

Castle Bled is more than a thousand years old. On 10th April 1004, the German King Henry II conferred the estate of Bled located in a province called Carniola to the Bishop Albuin of Brixen. In 1011, Albuin’s successor Adalberon was awarded the castle on the cliff, mentioned as Castellum Veldes. The castle stands atop a cliff that rises 130 meters above the glacial Lake Bled. The oldest part of the castle is a Romanesque tower. The buildings inside the castle are arranged two courtyards which are connected by a staircase. The upper courtyard also has a chapel which was built in the 16th Century. The castle also has a drawbridge over a moat.

Also related - Lake bled hiking

In 1278, the castle was passed on to the House of Habsburg. Due to its superb architecture and stunning views, Bled Castle soon became renowned in the region. Its strategically important geographical location also meant that it became a venue for high level political meetings.

After the dissolution of Austro-Hungary in 1918, Bled and the surrounding region became a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Bled became the summer retreat for the Kingdom of Karadordevic, a tradition that was continued by the Yugoslavian leader Josep Braz Tito. In fact, Tito’s private villa is still standing at the banks of Lake Bled.

Bled Castle Slovenia

How to Get to Bled

Bled is only 53 kilometers away from the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. The closest airport to Bled is the Jose Pucnik Airport in Ljubljana. Buses and trains are available from Ljubljana to Bled on a hourly basis. The journey takes approximately 75 minutes by bus and slightly less than an hour by train.

Castle Bled Today

1952 marked the beginning of extensive renovations of the Bled Castle, led by the great Slovenian architect Tone Bitenc. The restoration took around ten years, and were completed in 1961. Today, the castle premises include various attractions like a museum, restaurant, wine cellar, herbal gallery and chapel.

Bled Castle Slovenia

Things to do in Bled

Bled offers many more sights and experiences to the visitor apart from the castle. These include:

Lake Bled

The glacial lake with a small island in the center which is accessible only by boat or the traditional pletna is about 2 kilometers long and 1.4 kilometers wide at its widest point. It is beautiful spot to spend your day. The lake water is great for a swim during the summer.

Iglica Waterfall

Located 4 kilometers from Bled, the 18 meter high Iglica waterfall is a popular spot among rock climbers and boulderheads.

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