View across the beautiful Lake Bled, island church of the assumption of Mary, and hilltop castle, all topped off with the crescent of the waning moon at dawn, Slovenia.

In northern Slovenia lies the beautiful lake Bled with its island church in the middle. Anyone who visits will tell you it’s a magical place, like something out of a fairy tale. Well, that’s exactly how it all began:

The Legend of Lake Bled

In ancient times there was no water around the Lake Bled area; only a lush valley with sweeping grassy meadows as far as the eye could see. A gray rock sat prominently atop a large green hill in the middle of this valley.

The rock was the dwelling of the fairies. By day the hill would glisten in the sun, by night it was lit up by hundreds of fairies dancing around its slopes. The Slavic goddess Živa was their fairy queen, and the place was known by all as the Hill of the Fairies.

However, local farmers angered the fairies by allowing sheep to graze upon their hill. The fairies warned the farmers to keep their sheep away, or else they would build a barrier around the hill so large that no one without wings could set foot on it. But the farmers just laughed and ignored their warning, continuing to allow their sheep to graze upon the hill.

Pretty soon the sheep had eaten nearly all the grass, and one night the youngest and most beautiful of the fairies fell and broke her leg on the hard ground where once there had been soft grass. Their wrath incurred even more, Živa gathered all the fairies on the rock one night. Together they conjured up large volumes of water from the surrounding mountaintops and flooded the valley around the hill.

And from that moment on Lake Bled became the guardian of the hill. Today the Church of Mary Magdalena sits upon the rock. But if you watch very closely, and believe, you might still see the twinkling lights of the fairies dancing around the hill at night.

The twinkling lights of the fairies?

View across to the island church and clifftop castle in all it’s autumn glory, Slovenia.

View to the island church and clifftop castle from Ojstrica, Slovenia.

Sun rising over the island church of the assumption of Mary with the Karavanke mountains in the background, Slovenia.

The famous Island church emerging as the morning sun breaks through an icy mist

Moon setting at sunrise over hills and Island church

Autumn mist over Lake Bled and the famous island church, framed by trees, Slovenia

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