Built on a 130-metre cliff overlooking a stunning glacial lake of the same name 1000 years ago, Bled Castle is the oldest and best-preserved castle in Slovenia. It was first mentioned in the year 1011 under the rule of German king Henry II. and. The Slovene historian Valvasor mentions the medieval wonder in his 1689 Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, appropriately calling it Castellum Veldes or “Castle on the Rock”.
Up until the 18th century, the castle was administered by bishops, emperors and other nobles and later by adherents of the middle class. During the French occupation, Bled Castle was even owned by Napoleon.
The castle’s architecture changed through the centuries, each owner adding novel details to its interior and exterior character. The walls are Romanesque and most parts of its buildings are Renaissance in origin. The buildings are arranged around two courtyards connected by a staircase. In the upper courtyard stands the Gothic chapel dedicated to the bishops St. Albuin and St Ingenuin. After a big earthquake in 1690, the chapel was increased in height and baroque vaults were added. Its fresco on the northern wall depicts the German king Henry II. Other chapel frescoes are exceptionally well-preserved and made in illusionist style.
Today, Bled Castle is a museum and the venue for various events, including weddings, state visits and medieval reenactments. It offers memorizing views and an exquisite wine cellar. Visitors are treated to delicious specialties prepared in the castle’s restaurant, including Bled’s most prized dessert, the “kremšnita”.