The Bled Castle through the ages
The history of the castle reaches back to 1004 when the German Emperor Henry II gave his estate at Bled to Bishop Albuin of Brixen. At that time, only a Romanesque tower protected by walls stood in the place of the present day castle. The first castle was built in approximately 1011 but the Bishops of Brixen never resided there. This is precisely why the castle has no luxurious halls as the greater emphasis was placed on the defence system.
In the late Middle Ages more towers were built and the fortifications system was improved. Can you imagine entering through the outer walls with the Gothic arch and walking over the drawbridge above the moat? Today, the moat is filled with earth, but the sight is still able to stir up your imagination.
The distinctive feature of the castle is its double structure – the fortified centre part was intended for the residence of feudal lords, whilst the outer part with walls and buildings was intended for the residence of servants. In 1511 the castle was heavily damaged by the earthquake. Later on, the castle was restored and given its present appearance. The castle buildings are decorated with coats-of-arms painted in the fresco technique or carved in stone.
The Castle Chapel
The most interesting of all the preserved buildings is most certainly the Gothic chapel on the upper coutyard, which was consecrated to the Bishops St. Albuin and 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 Henry II and his wife Kunigunda. Their portraits can also be seen in the Church of the Assumption on the Bled Island.
From 1951 to 1961 the castle was restored and embellished with certain architectural details under the leadership of architect Tone Bitenc. The servant building on the lower courtyard was equipped with the castle printing shop, whilst the castle wine cellar found its place exactly beneath it. The upper courtyard hosts a museum which represents the history of Bled.
The Bled Castle today
The Bled Castle is now arranged as an exhibition area. Display rooms next to the chapel 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 the Bled Castle, they are important as an illustration of the style of living in the historical periods presented.
During the warm months, the castle courtyard hosts numerous cultural events, from which the Medieval Days, when knights present the medieval life to visitors, are the most appreciated.
The Bled Castle offers the finest view of the Bled island, the town of Bled and of the wider countryside of the Gorenjska region. Experience the picturesque architecture of the castle and the museum collection, representing the historical development of Bled, its culture and its population. Get familiar with the traditional manual technological procedures of printing in the castle printing shop, order a small bottle of wine and seal it with sealing wax in the castle cellar, and get acquainted with artistic ironworks at the castle forge. Recover your strength in the castle restaurant and then visit the multivision. In summer months, the castle atmosphere is enlivened by the visit of a count and an archery tournament.