Bled Island – its history and traditions – Guide to Bled Slovenia
People have lived in this area since the Mesolithic times (5,000 to 10,000 BC). It is not difficult to imagine that even then the lake with the unique island was regarded as a spiritual place. In pre-Christian times, it was a place of pilgrimage and sacrifice. People have been visiting the island to worship right up to the present day. Although there are more tourists than pilgrims today.
There is evidence of settlements in the area from stone age, iron age and Roman times. Graves from around 600 BC have been found. The pre-Christian era ended in the 7th century. For some
time, the island had been the place of worship to the goddess Živa. With the Slavic settlement, around 600 AD, and the conversion from pagan to Christian, worship of Živa was replaced by devotion to the Virgin Mary. Parts of the present-day church link back to the 15th century.
Today, occasionally, weddings are held in the church and occasionally Masses are celebrated. There is an annual Christmas concert by the wives and mothers of the Pletnars.
The entrance to the Church and Bell Tower is Adults €6.00, Students €4.00, Children €1.00 and Family ticket €12.00. People rent boats to visit the island and even swim. Getting to the island by Pletna is the traditional journey.
A pletna trip is €12 per person. You will be able to stay only half an hour. Whether you think 30 minutes is long enough to visit the island and appreciate the spiritual nature of the place is up to you. I find it all a bit of a rush. If you want to spend some time exploring the very beautiful church, taking time in the bell tower, the restaurant and walking around the island, In my view you need to take a lot longer than 30 minutes. Speak to the pletnar before you go to the island. Most speak English well enough to negotiate extra time on the island.
There are five locations around the lake where you can board a pletna. They are not always staffed. The most popular places are on the boardwalks behind Hotel Park and beside Hotel Prešeren. The pier at Mlino is normally used for organised trips although you can sometimes get on board there. There is also a departure point in Velika Zaka near the camping ground, but it is not available year-round.
as mentioned, it is possible to hire a rowing boat to get to the island. Places to dock are limited. Take advice when you are renting.
Bled Island website
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