Discover the oldest castle in Slovenia and enjoy in the featured historical artefacts.
Bled Castle in the past
The castle's history dates back to 1004 when the German king Henry II conferred the estate of Bled on Bishop Albuin of Brixen. At that time, only Romanesque tower protected by the wall stood at the place of the current castle. The first castle was built by the bishops around 1011 for defensive purposes. The bishops of Brixen never lived in the castle; therefore, it did not have any exuberant rooms.
In the Middle Ages additional towers were built and the fortification system with the wall and lifting tower above the ditch were upgraded. The ditch has been covered, but the scene still stirs up our imagination.
Double structure is typical of the castle – the fortified main part, intended for the residence of feudal lords, and the exterior part with the walls and facilities for servants. In 1511, the castle was strongly damaged by and earthquake, but it was rebuilt in the image as it is today. The castle buildings are decorated with the images of coats-of-arms, painted in fresco technique, some are engraved in stone.
Bled Castle in the present
The castle was restored in the period from 1951 to 1961, whereas the Bled Castle Printing Works was integrated in the building for servants at the lower courtyard, and the castle wine cellar has also been added slightly higher. A 12-metre deep well was carved in rock in the lower courtyard, and the castle also hosts the tower gallery featuring monthly exhibitions, a memorial room dedicated to Arnold Rikli and a room dedicated to museums in Gorenjska, as well as the Castle Beehive with souvenirs also.
There is a museum in the upper courtyard, where you can delve deep into the distant past of Lake Bled, from the early excavations and the castle to the individual steps of its historical development, and see period-specific artefacts. The artefacts do not originate from Bled Castle, but are important for illustrating the residential culture in all the periods the castle has faced so far. A path leads from the upper courtyard to the castle chapel, smithy, souvenir shop and restaurant. In the past, grapevine thrived in this area, and since 2011 the descendant of the oldest grapevine in the world grows here, prospering in Maribor for more than 400 years.
Many cultural events take place on the castle's courtyard, especially in warm months. Special attention is given to the Medieval Days when knights show visitors how people lived in the Middle Ages.
The most interesting of all preserved buildings is the Gothic chapel in the upper courtyard, dedicated to Bishop St Albuin and St Ingenuin. It was built in the 16th century; a baroque image was added to it at the end of the 17th century and was decorated with illusionist frescoes. The donors of the Bled estate, German king Henry II and his wife Cunigunde were featured at the altar. Their images can be found in the Church of the Mother of God on the Lake on Bled Island.
Enjoy in the view of Bled Island, Bled and the Gorenjska region surrounded with high mountains.
Take in the beautiful scenes of the picturesque castle architecture and the museum collection presenting the history of Bled, its culture and people.
Learn about the traditional hand printing techniques at the Bled Castle Printing Works and print your own memorial document.
Bottle your own wine and seal the bottle with wax in the castle cellar.
See the wonderfully forged products at the castle smithy.
Power up at the castle restaurant that offers an exceptional breath-taking view.
See the well in the lower courtyard.
View the current exhibition at the gallery.
Visit the memorial room dedicated to Arnold Rikli, and the room dedicated to museums in Gorenjska.
In summer months, visit the interesting medieval show.