Blejski otok. Le kdo ga ne pozna? Majhen otok sredi blejskega jezera in pravzaprav edini pravi slovenski otok.
Kot pravi legenda, nastanek blejskega jezera lahko pripišemo božjemu delu, kot kazen za brezbrižne lokalne prebivalce. Ti namrec niso ogradili Marijine kapele, ki je stala sredi pašnikov. Živina je tako pogosto vdirala in oskrunjala kapelico. Tako je Bog mesto, kjer je stala kapelica obdal z vodo.
Po nastanku je otok ledeniškega izvora, njegov nastanek sega približno 13800 let nazaj. Podobno kot grajska pecina je otok osamelec, ostanek trše kamenine iz paleozojskega apnenca, ki se ni vdala ledeniku, ki je izdolbel jezersko kotanjo. Površina otoka je 0.82 ha. Leži v zahodnem delu jezera in sega 18 m nad jezersko gladino.
Otok je bil nedvomno naseljen v 7.stol.pr.n.št., nekatere najdbe pa dopušcajo možnost poselitve že v mlajši kameni dobi – neolitu. V 8. in 9. stol.n.št. je stalo na otoku manjše svetišce, posveceno sprva Marijinemu rojstvu. Leseno kapelo so najbrž kmalu pozidali v manjšo cerkvico, ki se v pisanih virih prvic omenja leta 1185. Povecali so jo briksenški škofi, ki so leta 1004 posest dobili v dar od cesarja Henrika II. Škofi so iz svojih vrst na otoku imenovali prošta, ki je bil ponavadi najstarejši kanonik briksenške škofije. Proštova dolžnost je bila, da ob nedeljah in zapovedanih praznikih ter dvakrat med tednom v cerkvi opravi službo božjo. Ker pa ni bival na Bledu, ga je nadomešcal njemu podrejeni in od briksenškega ordinata potrjeni namestnik – kaplan. Leta 1688 je cerkev prešla pod ljubljansko škofijo. V tem casu so svetišce veckrat prezidali. Poprej romanske oblikovne znacilnosti je sredi 15. stol. zamenjala gotika z zašiljenimi okenskimi odprtinami in tristrano sklenjenim , verjetno zvezdasto obokanim oltarnim prostorom, ki so ga poslikali s svetopisemskimi prizori. Po potresu leta 1511 so cerkev ponovno popravili. Sedanja barocna stavba je bila sezidana leta 1698 ob uporabi starejšega zidovja.
Zvon želja, ki visi v stolpicu vrh ladijske strehe, je bil verjetno dar katerega od premožnejših faranov (po legendi mlade vdove v spomin na moža), odlil pa ga je Francišek Patavinski iz Padove leta 1534. Kdor z njim pozvoni in tako pocasti blaženo Devico, se mu izpolni želja, ki jo ima, ko pozvanja. Vecji zvon je bil odlit leta 1737 v zvonarski delavnici Samassa v Ljubljani in visi skupaj z zvonovoma iz delavnice Gašparja Franchija v mogocnem prostostojecem zvoniku. Ta je v spodnjem delu še gotski. Osrednji del je bil pozidan po potresu leta 1511, ko je bil stolp mocno poškodovan in le za silo popravljen z leseno zgradbo. Temeljito so ga prenovili šele leta 1680. Pod zvonikom si velja ogledati tudi barocni prostostojeci kip Marije Magdalene in gotski svetilnik v bližini južnega vhoda v cerkev.
Otok je najvec posegov doživel prav v 17. stoletju. Iz tega casa je znamenito južno stopnišce, ki šteje skoraj sto stopnic, po katerih se povzpnemo na osrednjo plošcad s svetišcem. Leta 1655 ga je dal postaviti grajski oskrbnik in zakupnik proštijskega imetja Maks Petschacher, ki je zapisan tudi na kamniti plošci v kapelici Matere božje ob stopnišcu. Otok so obiskovali številni romarji, ki so navadno prespali v prostorih proštije, velike nadstropne zgradbe tik ob cerkvi. Vrhnje nadstropje so ji dodali leta 1787, tako da sta poleg romarjev v njej lahko bivala tudi cerkveni oskrbnik in prošt, ko je obiskal Bled. V casu 1721 so za mežnarja dogradili novo stavbo – mežnarijo, ki stoji ob glavnem stopnišcu pod proštijo. V mežnariji je po letu 1707 prebival tudi kaplan.
Na otoku za cerkvijo stoji tudi manjša pribrežna stavba, imenovana Pušcavica. Sprva lesena stavba, postavljena pred letom 1636 za duhovnika – pušcavnika Waidmanna, je tudi kasneje služila za duhovnike – pušcavnike, ki so se naselili na otoku, da bi uživali spokojni mir. Sedanja oblika je iz leta 1852, ko jo je župnik Simon Peharc uredil za prenocevanje romarjev. Istega leta je bilo zgrajeno tudi kamnito stopnišce, po katerem se spustimo do severne obale otoka, kjer je v kamnito brežino vkopana kapelica Lurške Matere božje. Vir: www.blejskiotok.si
Blejski otok je razglašen za kulturni spomenik državnega pomena in tako umešcen na seznam kulturnih spomenikov Slovenije.
Za ta geocache je potrebno - jasno - priti na otok. To lahko storite na krovu pletne ali drugega colnica, ce je voda dovolj topla pa na otok lahko tudi priplavate (v tem primeru spoštujte pravila oblacenja za vstop v nekatere zgradbe na otoku). Ce se odlocite, da boste na otok odveslali sami, si coln lahko izposodite na mnogih mestih okoli jezera. Prijetna trgovinica, kjer izposojajo colne je tudi na Mlinem (N46°21.638, E14°05.980).
V bližini se skriva še en bonus cache, koordinate le-tega so zapisane v dnevniku.
Island on Lake Bled. Who does not know this beautiful place which represents Slovenia on almost every postcard? A small island in the middle of the Lake Bled is one of the most important sights in Slovenia and in fact the only real Slovenian island.
According to a legend, the origin of the island is to be attributed to an act of God, as a punishment for the negligent local people who failed to enclose the Madonna's Chapel; situated amid pastures. Cattle often invaded it, thus profanating the sanctuary. God thus surrounded the place where the chapel was standing with water.
The island is of a glacial origin and dates back approximately 13800 years – like the castle hill, it is an isolated remnant of a harder Paleozoic limestone which was not eroded by the glacier when forming the lake basin. The surface of the island is 0.82 ha. It is situated in the western part of the lake and extends 18 m above the lake surface.
Archaeological excavations carried out in the years 1962-1965 established that it was inhabited already in the 7th century B.C. However, some findings lead to the presumption that it may already have been inhabited during the Stone Age, in the period of the Neolithic. The most significant archaeological discovery uncovered a vast cemetery revealing more than one hundred graves dating from the 8th and 9th century A.D. They serve as a confirmation of the existence of an Old Slavic cemetery, i.e. a settlement of the Koettlach cultural group, on the island. A small sanctuary dedicated to the nativity of the Virgin indubitably stood on the island already during that time. The wooden chapel was presumably reconstructed into a small church with a rectangular, flat ceilinged nave and a semicircular altar — abside not long after.
The chapel is first mentioned in written documents in the year 1185, when it probably had a nave and two aisles. It was enlarged during the episcopate of the Brixen bishops, who were given the propriety by the emperor Henry II in the year 1004; with further concessions they also became landlords by the year 1073, amounting to a vast propriety in the Upper Sava Valley. The bishops named the provost, usually the most age-old canon of the Brixen Episcopacy, out of their likes. It was the duty of the provost to say mass in church on Sundays, on religious holidays and twice a week. As the provost's house was not located in Bled, he had a substitute, a chaplain, inferior to him in rank, confirmed by the Brixen Ordinariat. The territory south of the Drava river was under the dominion of the Aquilea Patriarchy; this is why the bishops were often disputing with Aquilea regarding the island. The dispute was first settled in favour of the Brixen Episcopacy in the mid 15th century. However, the controversies with Brixen continued even after the establishment of the Ljubljana Episcopacy in the year 1461 and went on till 1688, when the Church passed under the propriety of the Ljubljana Episcopacy and the Brixen bishop was bestowed the right to use its relics.
During that time the temple was often rebuilt. The previous romanesque forms were substituted by gothic shapes in the mid 15th century with the characteristically sharpened window forms and triple-rounded, probably star-vaulted altar, decorated with Bible scenes. Reconstructed as such, the building was consacrated by the Ljubljana bishop Žiga Lamberg in the year 1465. The building underwent new reconstructions after the earthquake in 1511 and was consecrated in 1523 by the then bishop Kristof Raubar. The Baroque church of today was built in 1698 upon the foundations of the ancient walls, the proof of which are the remains of the former Gothic spans on the southern façade.
The "Wish bell" is certainly the most significant point of reference for pilgrims that have been visiting the place since the Middle Ages. It hangs from the tower on top of the ship roof. The bell was probably a donation of a wealthy parishioner and it seems to have been inculcated by Francesco Patavini da Padua in 1534. According to a legend, a young widow who lived at Bled Castle mourned her husband who had been killed by brigands. She gathered all her gold and silver and had a bell cast for the chapel on Bled Island. When the bell was being transported to the island, a tempest caused the boat to overturn. The boatmen drowned and the bell sank to the bottom of the lake. The young widow, now even more devastated, decided to go to Rome and enter a convent. After her death, the Pope donated another bell for the church on the Isle of Bled. The legend has it that those who ring the bell to honour the Blessed Virgin and make a wish will see their wish come true.
The larger bell was cast in the workshop of Master Anton Samassa in Ljubljana in 1737 and hangs in the imposing self-standing church tower together with two other bells made in the workshop of Gašpar Franchi. The tower's lower part is still of the Gothic period. The central part was rebuilt after the 1511 earthquake, when the tower was badly damaged and reconstructed in wood. It was scrupulously reconstructed only in 1680; however, the roof was remade twice, due to thunder striking in the years 1688 and 1782, when it finally attained the form it shows today.
The Baroque statue of Mary Magdalene below the tower and the Gothic lighthouse near the southern entrance to the church are also worth visiting.
The island underwent the largest number of interventions during the 17th century. The remarkable southern staircase, comprising almost one hundred steps, dates back to that period. The staircase leads to the central plateau with the sanctuary, which was commissioned by the castle administrator and provostship propriety tenant Maks Petschacher, whose name is also inscribed on the stone plate in the chapel of Holy Virgin by the staircase.
Pilgrims have always visited the island and they would spend the night in the provost's house, a large storeyed house by the church. The top storey was added in 1787, so that the house could tend not only to the pilgrims but also to the church administrator and the provost when visiting Bled. In the inventory of 1669 it is mentioned as a guest-quarters and vestry, thus it can be deduced that it was at first also the home of the sacristan. As it is only referred to as a guest-quarters in the inventory of 1721, presumably a new house was built for the sacristan — a sacristy located by the main staircase under the provost's house.
After the year 1707 one of the two chaplans also lived in the sacristy, while the other was probably moved into the administration building of the provost's house along the lake's bank, which for years hosted the Bled school. Indeed, after the year 1787 the building served only for school purposes.
There is another, smaller building along the bank behind the church; it is called the Hermitage. First built as a wooden construction prior to 1636, it was used by the priest — hermit Michael Waidmann and it later served as a home for the priests — hermits who subsequently settled on the island to seek calm and peace. There is no data disclosing when the building was then made of stone. Today's form of the building dates back to the year 1852 when the parish priest Simon Peharc turned it into a guest-house for the pilgrims.
That same year the stone staircase leading down to the northern bank of the island was built; there stands, entrenched into the stone bank, the Chapel of the Holy Virgin Mary of Lourdes. Source: www.blejskiotok.si
The island on Lake Bled has been declared a cultural monument of national importance and thus placed on the list of cultural monuments of Slovenia.
For finding this geocache it is - obviously - necessary to reach the island. This can be done by using the traditional Pletna boat. If the water is warm enough you can reach the island also by swiming (in that case please respect the dress code for entering some of the buildings on the island). If you decide to row on the island by yourself, there are lots of places all around the lake where you can borrow a boat. One very nice store where you can do that is in Mlino (N46°21.638, E14°05.980).
Nearby lies another, bonus cache, its coordinates are recorded in the logbook.