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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe fairytale Bled Castle stands perched on a steep cliff towering 130 m high above Lake Bled.
It was first mentioned in 1011, when German Emperor Henry II donated it to Bishop Albuin of Säben and his church. For 800 long years, it was the seat of the Austrian Bishops of Brixen. In the late Middle Ages, more towers were built and the fortifications were improved.
The present look of the castle dates from the 17th century and includes major restoration works carried out between 1951 and 1961. Preserved from the original building are the Romanesque walls with an entrance tower and the reconstructed, wooden defense corridors, while the other sections of the castle are generally in Gothic and Renaissance styles.
At the top, stroll around the grounds and enjoy the breathtaking scenery - the castle terrace offers magnificent views of the lake and island below. The castle buildings are divided into two levels which are connected with a staircase: the upper courtyard with the residence, the Gothic chapel, and the restaurant; and the lower courtyard with administrative buildings, protected by a high Romanesque wall, an entrance tower, and a Gothic defensive tower.
The castle also houses a museum collection that exhibit the lake’s history from earliest times to the development of Bled as a resort in the 19th century. During the summer months, the castle courtyard hosts numerous cultural events, from Medieval shows to weddings and concerts.
What to See
MuseumExplore the museum collection, representing the historical development of Bled, its culture and its population. The museum's permanent exhibition with archaeological finds, period furniture and armory is set and maintained by the National Museum of Slovenia. The entrance to the museum is included in the price of admission to the castle.
Castle ChapelThe Gothic castle chapel, built in the 16th century and dedicated to the bishops St. Albuin and St. Ingenuin, is the most interesting of all the preserved buildings. After the second major earthquake of 1690, the chapel was renovated in the Baroque style around 1700, and painted with illusionist frescoes.
Castle ForgeThe castle’s forge, in which various forged artifacts are presented, is located at the upper courtyard. At the forge, the visitors have the chance to make their own souvenir – a coin on an anvil. The blacksmith at the castle forge comes from the fourth generation of blacksmiths from the famous Slovenian blacksmiths town, Kropa .
Castle Wine CellarBled Castle has a wine cellar and if you want an interesting souvenir, you can bottle, cork, and label your own Slovenian vintage in the historic wine cellar. Castle cellar-masters are happy to present the history of the vine, and offer you a glass of excellent wine from Dornberg winery. ‘Rajsko vino’ is a special product, first produced to commemorate the town's 1,000 year anniversary in 2004, and can be purchased with a certificate.
VisitingBled Castle is open daily from 8.00 AM, closing times are 8:00 PM in the spring and autumn, 9:00 PM in the summer, and 6:00 PM in the winter, and there is an entrance fee of €9 ($10).
Visits to the museum outside the specified opening hours and by prior appointment (max 1 hour) is charged at €70 ($81). You can spend approximately 1 to 2 hours in the castle, including the walk up.
Getting ThereYou can reach Bled Castle on foot via one of the various trails sign-posted ‘Grad’. It's about 10-15 minutes walk up through the forest depending which path you take. The first trail starts from the car park behind the Bledec Hostel; the second path leads up from the Castle Baths; and the third starts just north of the Neo-Gothic Parish Church of St. Martin. Alternatively, there is a road where you can drive to the top and park your vehicle.
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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jan 18, 2015