I booked a bed and breakfast in Lake Bride. Small flat floor villa, with a small attic, yellow exterior wall with slender white arched Windows, small yard quiet, there are grass slopes on both sides, you can take steps up. The landlord had left the key at the door for me to enter.
Standing in the yard looking into the distance, across the road is a large lawn and woods, the line of sight across them, you can see a corner of Lake Brad, barely “lake view room”. The hills surrounding Lake Brad, lined with houses, have been inhabited by locals for hundreds of years. Today, nearly half of them are such b&Bs, which, along with hotels at the foot of the mountain, prop up tourism in Slovenia’s no. 1 landmark.
Slovenia, with just over 20,000 square kilometers of land, is the only European country with a karst landscape at the intersection of the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian plains. Lake Brad is its number one attraction, known as the “tears of the Alps”.
Lake Brede, located in northwestern Slovenia, was formed about 14,000 years ago due to the geological movement of glaciers in the Alps. The lake is 2,120 meters long, 180 meters to 500 meters wide, and 30 meters deep at its deepest point. It is also known as the “frozen lake” because of the melting water from the snow on top of the mountain. The name “Brad” comes from the ancient Slavic language, originally the name of a fairy, so lake Brad is also known as the “Fairy Lake”.
I choose Brad Castle as my first stop. In 1011, construction began on brad Castle and church, presided over by Henry II, the last King of the Saxony dynasty, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. At that time, he gave the manor of Brede to Bishop Arbuin, who began construction of the castle, making it the oldest castle in Slovenia.
Looking up at the castle by the lake, large mountains surrounded by cliffs, the castle was built on the cliff of more than 100 meters high. The exterior of the castle is simple and simple, with the main building at the back and a cylindrical defensive tower in front. The whole thing is still Romanesque, but it works well with the roughness of the cliffs.
Climbing up the mountain path, the cylindrical tower was only part of the defense system, while a square tower and covered corridor connected the two. The atrium square has a considerable gradient, with the defensive towers below and the main castle building, which houses and houses the church, above. The castle museum notes that it has undergone several additions and repairs over the millennia, with more towers and improved fortifications built in the Middle Ages. In 1278, the castle was transferred to the Habsburg family and was given more architectural styles, mainly in the Late Renaissance style, especially the patterned facade of the chapel.
The thick, burr stone walls of the castle are open with Windows, and there are elegant stone column arcades on the second floor. The main attraction is a vine that stretches on both sides, its green leaves covering the walls and its trunk protected by iron railings. A plaque on the railing says the vine was transplanted from Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, in 2011. The maribor vine, more than 400 years old and said to be the oldest in the world, still produces high-quality wine every year, and the transplant is also very much alive. A doorway next to the grapevine is a wine cellar showcasing lesser known but highly regarded Slovenian wines.
People sitting around the lake.
The church next to the grapevine was small and quaint, cold and solemn, its stone walls and vaults covered with painted religious paintings. The main altar was dedicated to The Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and his wife Cunigonde. But the first thing I grabbed was the window of the corridor, which looked out at lake Brad like a mirror, reflecting brightly and brightly, with green mountains between the blue water and the blue sky.
Look down close, the castle cliff is actually a lake swimming pool. In front of a large meadow, a bend of water is enclosed in the pool, making it one of the most beautiful swimming pools in the world. And across the lake is a sanatorium that dates back to the 19th century, founded by a Swiss naturopathic doctor who used water therapy to treat rheumatism and insomnia. The move made the lake more famous as a holiday destination for dignitaries, royals and the rich.
Lake Brad is not very large in size, but the water is clear of impurities and is a charming blue all year round. In all the lake photos, the c-position is an island in the lake. It is the only natural island in Slovenia, with towering churches and a perfect harmony between man and nature.
There are several churches around The lake. In addition to the chapel in the castle, there is a cathedral at the foot of the castle. But the most attractive church must be the Assumption church on the island in the lake.
Slavs have inhabited lake Brad since the Stone Age, but it is religion that has transformed the lake. When Bishop Albouin took over lake Bride, he took it private. He leased the land to ordinary people at a low price, and the church took 1% of the harvest each year, attracting a large number of residents. In the middle of the 14th century, the town of Brad flourished and formed a system of lake management.
By the early 19th century, the Lake was under the control of France and Austria, but thanks to its religious status, the towns remained intact and the water was protected.
Built in the 15th century and rebuilt after an earthquake in 1509, the Church of the Assumption on the island is regarded as the religious center of the Lake District. There are a variety of boats available to reach the islands, but speedboats are too fast to enjoy the scenery from multiple perspectives, and it’s too difficult to paddle my own boat, so I chose the Pletnas, which are the most traditional means of lake transportation.
Close to the lake on the boat is even more amazing. It is so clear, the visibility is so deep, the water ripples, even when the sun is in the sky, still feel a cool. The foot of the mountain all around the lake is dense forest, occasionally houses hidden at the meantime, it is a huge private villa. The most beautiful one, surrounded by dense woods and facing the lake, has an enviable spire with white walls and black tiles.
Couple on an island in the middle of a lake.
99 steps on an island in the middle of a lake.
The island in the lake is 40 meters above the water. Looking up from the boat, the church tower stands tall and straight, with a distant mountain as the background. As the boat approached the island in the lake, it saw a long, steep flight of stairs.
In Slovenia, the church of the Assumption on an island in the lake is one of the most popular wedding venues, and the 99-flight staircase is the centerpiece of the ceremony. It is said that according to local tradition, in order to have a happy marriage, the groom carries the bride up and rings the church bell to pray for love.
It comes from a local story. In the 16th century, a wealthy young couple, fascinated by the beauty of Lake Brad, settled on an island in the middle of the lake. Devout believers, they used their savings to repair the dilapidated church. But it didn’t last long. The Ottoman Empire invaded, her husband was drafted into the army, and he disappeared. After nine years of waiting, the wife heard that her husband had died in battle. Heartbroken, she sold her property and spent money to cast a big bell to donate to the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in order to express grief. But when it was transported to the island in the middle of the lake, it was caught in a strong wind and the bell sank to the bottom of the lake.
Later, the wife left Lake Bride and settled in Rome, where she died. Today, the Assumption church does have a 178-kilogram clock, donated by the archbishop after the wife died.
This sad but determined love story seems to fit the name of Slovenia, a country with “love” in its name, and the Church of the Assumption is also known as the Church of Love.
There are only five buildings on the lake island. The baroque church tower, 52 meters high, dominates the high point, and the interior is simple. Standing on the island, the world becomes quiet, “left alone and independent”. It made me feel happy when the young couple lived on the island.
Looking through the gap in the trees, we can see lake Blad. The lake is calm, and the afternoon sun shines on the lake. Occasionally, tourists with boats pass by, leaving their reflections in the lake and mountains. Suddenly there was music, and they walked down the stairs. There was an old couple on the bank, one dressed in a suit, the other dressed casually. They set up a small table with coffee and drinks, one holding a violin, the other sitting in front of an electronic organ, and indulged in playing. On a deserted island, they didn’t care about the audience, they cared about their own happiness.
Enjoy lake Brad, and don’t forget the cream cake. At the time of my visit, more than 10 million twinkies had been sold in the entire Lake Bride area over 60 years.
With a golden pastry base, the rich, soft cake is topped with a layer of vanilla casta, followed by a layer of cream, then covered with another layer of pastry and dusted with powdered sugar. Invented in the 1950s, the recipe became so famous that it was copied in Paris and Vienna. The recipe is said to be folded seven times, boiled for seven minutes and finally served as a cube with sides of 7cm. To be honest, I don’t believe in this lucky digital metaphysics. The cake is delicious and the scenery is beautiful. That’s enough. Without the beauty of Lake Brad, there would be no “taste of Brad”.