Bled (castle)

11th century

Bled enters history in 1004 when king Henrik II. grants estate Bled (predium, quod dictiur Ueldes) in province Carniola to Bishop Albuin of Säben (later diocese of Säben was renamed to diocese of Brixen) and his church, with all that comes with estate. Granted estate covered all of the northern Carniola in those days. First explicit mentioning of the castle, by some sources the oldest castle in Slovenia, is in 1011 when king Henrik II. in his gift act extends given estate and adds a castle - castellum Veldes to diocese of Brixen.
In year 1154 Meinhardi videlicet de Ueldes is mentioned and in 1179 Reinhardus de Ueldes, both were ministerials in Bled. In that time castle was severly robbed by counts from Gorica-Tyrol region so in 1236 bishop Henrik IV. of Brixen transfered regalia for his diocese to caesar Friderik II.. He handed protection of the castle to Carinthian duke in such way, that earnings of the castle remained to count.
In 1245 we encounter a reference to a castle as castrum nostrum Veldes when bishop Egon wanted to get the castle back by paying 250 marks in silver to knight Gerloh of Jeterbenk and Viljem of Bled, which took away castle from bishop. In fact the castle soon returned in hands of diocese of Brixen.
In 1288, after death of bishop Bruno, Bled was occupied by Majnhard II. of Tyrol, until 1296, when on his death bed he denounced of the castle and castle was again in the hands of diocese of Brixen. Castellan - purgraf auf Veldes comes to castle in 1312 and replaces former Brixen ministerials named by Bled. Between 1317 and 1588 we encounter tenants Kreighs, which are followed by Auspergs ant then others. in 1803 Bled estate and castle were sequestrated by the government. For the timebeing of French occupation between 1809 and 1813 earnings of estate were used to support Governor-General of Illyrian Provinces Marshal Marmont and after French left different managers followed and most of them substantially benefited on the account of the estate but neglected maintenance of castle buildings. In 1858 estate was bought by Viktor Ruard, industrialist from Kranj but it was soon sold and again started to migrate from one hahd to another. Immediately before World War II, the castle was taken over by Drava Banate. After the war the castle was nationalized and declared as cultural monument. After fire in 1947, when the roof above residential wing was burnt, reconstruction works began. At the end of 1950s and start of 1960s architect Tone Bitenc was overseeing the reconstruction and in that time courtyards were levelled and paved, panoramic platforms were arranged, both plateaus were linked with stairs and by that rearranged the whole into modern tourist destination.

Bled castle is the most visited cultural attraction in Slovenia and is visited by 200.000 visitors every year. Slovenian name Bled appears after 1500.
Timotej Knific in TV show "Kako živijo gradovi: Blejski grad" ("Life of castles: Bled castle") explains: Castle elevation was allready populated in the Iron Age. During Ostrogoth and Langobard era a settlement with defence walls was constructed on the the elevation. At the time deceased were burried on the place below the castle. In the Slavic era a new castle settlement, which was of great significance, is constructed on the castle elevation. Finds that were excavated on the burrial ground below the castle, where parking lot is today, testify about that. 170 graves have been excavated. Slavic cemetery was also located on the island.

For individual tour of the castle a fee of 7 EUR has to be paid. Students have a discount of only 1 EUR. Children's fee will cost their parents 3,50 EUR. Fee includes a visit of the museum.

Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji - Gorenjska (Ob zgornjem toku Save)", Viharnik, Ljubljana, 1996, ISBN 961-6057-06-5
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Gradovi na Slovenskem", Cankarjeva založba, 1987, ISBN 86-361-0280-4
Kako živijo slovenski gradovi: Blejski grad; dokumentarna oddaja, 28.12.2004
Contact details:
Grajska cesta 61
4260 Bled

Tel: +386 (0)4 574 12 30
Fax: +386 (0)4 574 12 30
Web links:
Manufaktura Mojster Janez
Izlet na Bled malo drugače
Infrastruktura Bled d.o.o. - Blejski grad
Muzej na Blejskem gradu - kontaktni podatki
Igralska skupina viteza Gašperja Lambergarja
Shows and entertainment:
Bled castle is open every day between hours 8.00 and 17.00. Museum on castle is opened:
from May 1st to October 31st: between 8.00 and 20.00
from November 1st to April 30th: between 8.00 and 17.00
A great number of event occurs over the year. For datailed information about events I recommend a visit to a site
Medieval day occurs annually but shorter medieval and ranaissance themed events performed by Acting group of knight Gašper Lambergar occur several times a year. Permanent attractions on the castle include castle printing office, castle wine cellar, herbal shop and small painting gallery.
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 22.191' E 14° 6.031'


Baroque church (first mentioned in 1185) on a small island in the center on the lake; with the castle in the background, ... and alps
Entrance defence wall
Semicircularly concluded entrance portal from the early 16th century, equipped with after-the-war reconstructed drawbridge
Outer defence wall with arrow-loops and rampart; view from inside
View of the tower from the outside, which with its defensive ground floor, bounded with semi-circular cordon, protected access to castle; according to sources from 1583 the tower was reconstructed but it's more likely that it was completely rebuilt because it has all features of Renaissance fortification architecture of the era
Rustically designed Renaissance portal leads through arched hallway of entrance tower to lower courtyard; heraldic plate with Brixen coat of arms and year 1511 is built-in above the portal and alerts to the castle restoration after the earthquake in 1511
Rectangular two-storey romanesque entrance tower
Layered romanesque construction of the defence wall at entrance tower
Entrance to castles wine cellar "de Adami" is located north of tower
High romanesque outer defence wall, which was built somewhere between 11th and late 12th century and is the only to the top preserved defence wall in Slovenia
Reconstructed renaissance corridor
One of many key-shaped arrow-loops at the corridor
Even before mid 19th auxilliary tract was built between towers which was then raised for one storey and again lowered at after-the-war reconstruction; a pub is located here today
Modernly rearranged fountain in the lower courtyard
High, round, two-storey defense tower located in the wall at the north-eastern corner of the lower courtyard
Entry to castles print (on the ground floor of north-eastern tower), which was never actually located on the castle; but it was a home to a highly valued castle scribe
Renaissance, pillaster-framed rustic portal with triangular, heraldic frescoed front is located in elbow-shaped wing between courtyards
Arched hallway in basement floor of the wing which leads through modern outer, radially formed staircase to artificially levelled upper castle plateau
Built in height of two floors, altered to baroque style after earthquake in 1690, late-gothic chapel dedicated to Brixen patrons St.Albuin and Ingenium
Inside single-storey semi-cellared building, once a keep, is nowadays a museum
On the right from the entrance a tombstone of noble Lemberg from 1550 embedded in wall
Coat of arms plate embedded above tombstone
Museum also displays few interesting pieces of weaponry
Renaissance trifora from Vurberk, which was destroyed after the war, embedden above the portal
Interior of the chapel which in time of baroque-style renovation or soon after that was decorated with frescoes, mostly well preserved
Upper courtyard, view to east
Upper castle plateau, view towards north-west
Lower courtyard, view from south
Blunt-angled elbow-shaped residential wing in which at the time of its construction a ceremony hall was organized; nowadays a guest house is in here
Arranged vantage point and southern outer staircase that leads to upper courtyard
Remains of castle garden at its entrance
In the middle of Bled lake we can see ancient pilgrimage St.Mary's Church, where archaeologists while excavating uncovered foundations of churches that were standing there centuries before the first mentioning of Bled.
View towards north to Karavanke, on the right highest peak Stol (2237m)
J. V. Valvasor, Bled (outtake)
L. Benesch, upper courtyard with chapel on Bled castle, 1892