Legend to come to life as Bled celebrates Christmas
As the legend goes, a wishing bell in the church on the Bled island was blessed by a pope in the 16th century after he heard the legend of an inconsolable widow.
A young woman from Bled Castle, which guards the lake from the top of an imposing cliff, became a widow after her husband was killed by bandits. The mourning widow decided to melt all her gold and silver into a small bell for the chapel that stood on a tiny island in the middle of the lake.
But when boatsmen were taking the bell across the water, a fierce storm broke, sending the bell and the boatsmen to the bottom of the lake that lies at the foothills of the Julian Alps.
Without her love and the bell, the widow sold all her remaining belongings and donated the money for a new church to be built on the island. She left Bled for a convent in Rome, where she spent the rest of her life.
According to the legend, the pope, hearing her story, blessed a new bell for the Bled island church. Until this day, it is believed that the bell, truly cast in 1534, makes a wish come true for those who chime it.
As for the young widow's bell at the bottom of the lake, they say that if you listen closely, you can still hear it chime in the silence of the night.
According to the head of the local tourism board Turizem Bled Jaka Ažman, every year, the "traditional Bled event with a heart" attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors from Slovenia and abroad.
The legend was first revived some two decades ago.