The Bled castle
The Bled castle - presentation
Bled castle in the past
It is quite probable that in 1004, when the German Emperor Henrik II gave the Bled estate to Bishop Albuin of Brixen as a gift, only a Romanesque tower stood in the place of the present day castle, protected by walls facing the gentle slope of the castle hill. In the late Middle Ages more towers were built and the fortifications were improved. The entrance through the outer walls, with a Gothic arch and a drawbridge over the now filled-in moat, is an interesting aspext to view. Other buildings which were additionally constructed in the Baroque period, completed the architectural development of the castle complex. These are arranged around two courtyards: the lower one containing outbuildings and the upper one residential quarters. The two courtyards were connected with a staircase in the middle of the Baroque wing. The most interesting of all the preserved buildings is certainly the chapel on the upper courtyard, which was consecrated to the Bishops St. Albuin and to St. Ingenium. It was built in the 16th century, and was renovated in the Baroque style around 1700, when it was also painted with illusionist frescoes.
Next to the altar there are paintings of the donors of the Bled estate, the German Emperor Henrik II and his wife Kunigunda. Fragments of the rib vaults from the ruined Gothic arch are built into the wall of a room from the neighbouring wing, nowadays the site of the museum. Numerous coats of arms painted in the fresco technique or carved in stone, decorate individual castle buildings. At the edge of the upper courtyard there is a hut marked as a tower in the axial plan. In 1947 when the castle roof was destroyed in a fire and during the first post-war archeological excavations at Bled in 1948, the National Museum proposed the preservation of the castle complex. From 1951 to 1961 it was restored and embellished with certain architectural details under the leadership of architect Tone Bitenc and with funds provided by the Municipality of Bled.
The castle is now arranged as an exhibition area. The display rooms near the chapel, a most interesting building, present the ancient history of Bled from the first excavations, and the castle in individual stages of its historical development with furniture, characteristic of those times. Although these pieces are not originally from Bled Castle, they are important as an illustration of the style of living in the historical periods presented. You can also visit printing works, castle cellar, herbal gallery, restaurant, souvenir shop and see multivision. Bled castle attracts visitors not only with it sage and picturesques architecture but also for the unforgettable view of the lake and the wider area of Gorenjska and the Julian Alps. In summer months, the castle atmosphere is enlivened by the visit of a count and an archery tournament, and on warm summer nights, visitors are drawn by concerts of classical music under the starry skies.
Opening hours of the castle museum:
from 1. 5. to 31. 10.:
from 8.00 to 20.00
from 1. 11. to 30. 4.:
from 8.00 to 17.00