Postcards from Slovenia #9: A Visit to Bled Castle

In keeping with the Kings of Bled theme, today we’re taking a trip to the dramatic Bled Castle, perched atop a dramatic 125m high cliff overlooking the lake. If you’re in the Bled area, make sure you visit the castle to find out more about the region’s dramatic and multi-layered history.

History of the Castle

Defensive Tower, Bled Castle

The first recorded mention of Bled Castle was in 1011, meaning that a castle has stood on this site for over 1000 years. The present-day building dates back to the 16th Century, when the castle was rebuilt following the 1511 earthquake which also damaged the castle of Ε kofja Loka.

At the time the castle was first built, it belonged to the Bishops of Brixen, Germany, who had been granted the site at the behest of their king, Henry II. It was built for defensive, rather than domestic purposes, and when you take a look at the sheer cliff face which plummets down to the lake below, you can see why this site was chosen.

Going by written records, Bled Castle is the oldest in Slovenia, a land with no shortage of enchanting fairytale castles. In terms of dramatic scenery it has no rival except perhaps Predjama Castle which was built into the mouth of a cave (look out for more on this at a later date!)

Visiting the Castle

The castle courtyard with workshops

There is a steep winding road leading up to the castle from Bled town centre, but it’s much nicer to take the woodland footpath up from the lake shore if you can. It is around a twenty minute walk over steep terrain.

For entrance fee and timetable information, visit the castle’s website. The castle is open year-round, and the entrance fee includes entry to the fascinating Castle Museum, where you can find more about the history of the region, which has been inhabited since at least the Late Neolithic period. Archaeological displays of artefacts spanning the centuries are on display here; a must for lovers of archaeology and history. There are also some suits of armour and interactive exhibits which the children are sure to love.

There are several ‘workshops’ within the castle walls, my favourite of which is the print workshop, where you can have your own document printed using a replica of the 16th-Century Gutenberg printing press, and watch while this is made. Other workshops include the blacksmith’s shop and castle wine cellar.

Once you have explored the castle, you can visit the castle’s dramatic restaurant which is popular with politicians and for weddings owing to its breathtaking setting at the cliff face.

Stay tuned for more!

I hope you enjoyed this short visit to Bled Castle. Benji, our very own King of Bled, was thrilled by the response to his guest blog post. He is now working on his own website which will be going live soon – watch this space!

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