Lake Bled, Slovenia, Church of the Assumption


 

The picture is if of the Church of the Assumption on an Island in Lake Bled, Slovenia.
According to a legend this was where a  temple of the ancient Slavic goddess Živa, once stood there.   The temple disappeared during battles between the followers of the pagan religion and Christians, who destroyed the altar and built a church.  Archaeologists have discovered traces of prehistoric (11th to 8th centuries B.C.) and Slavic (9th to 10th century) settlements but just 124 graves with skeletons from the 9th to the 11th century and no real settlement so it could have been just a cemetery.

 The foundations of a pre-Romanesque chapel built during the process of Christianisation, also date from approximately the same period  but the first masonry church on the island, a three-nave Romanesque basilica, was consecrated by the Aquilean patriarch Pellegrino in 1142.

In the 15th century, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style: a new presbytery, a freestanding bell tower and the main altar were built. The renovated single-nave church was consecrated in 1465 by the first bishop of Ljubljana, count Žiga Lamberg.

In 1509, 16th Century, that church was damaged by an earthquake to such an extent that it required thorough renovation, and it was updated to the prevailing architectural trend at the time which was Baroque. Only the frescoes in the presbytery and a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary,  that probably adorned the main altar, were preserved from the previous Gothic incarnation.

                           +++++++++++++++++++ Wishing Bell ++++++++++++

Of special interest is the “”wishing bell”” from 1534 in the upper roof beam above the church nave, by F. Patavina from Padova.

According to the legend, a young widow Poliksena once lived at the Bled Castle, who had a bell casted for the chapel on the island in memory of her husband. During the transport of the bell, a terrible storm struck the boat and sank it together with the crew and the bell, which to this day is said to ring from the depths of the lake.

After the widow died, the Pope consecrated a new bell and sent it to the Bled Island. It is said that whoever rings this bell and thereby gives honour to Virgin Mary gets his wish come true

View more pix here from Lonely Planet or  go to the Slovenian site over here.