Pletna boat

Island in the middle of Bled Lake, with its beauty and special energy, has attracted people throughout the history. It’s no surprise, that local inhabitants have chosen Bled island, to be sacred and were trying to find the way to reach it, in the shortest and most convenient way. Archeological excavations have shown, that under the foundation of the Early Christianity Church, there are remains of older rectangular building – a temple, which dates in the period before Christianity. One of the theories is, that it was dedicated to the Goddess of Life, Živa. On the Island, there is also a fresh water spring and existence of it, for sure contributed to the fact, that native inhabitants have chosen this Island, to build a temple on it. But to be able to reach the Island the fastest way, they needed a vessel and this led to the development of Pletna boat. Pletna boat is today recognized as a part of the Slovenian cultural heritage.

Pletna boat was developing through time, based on the need and purpose of transportation to Bled Island. From 12th century onwards, vessels were intended mostly to transport construction material for the purposes of building Island facilities. Later, from the 15th century onwards, Pilgrimage tourism became popular, so they added a bench and a table to the vessels, which were carrying transportation material. This form of a vessel was called Plitvica.

Families from Mlino village are closely connected to the Lake and lake transportation, from the early beginnings of Mlino settlement. One reason is, that from Mlino there is the nearest way to the Island, and the other is the special right, which they received in 18th century, with empress Maria Theresa, who gave Mlino families exclusivity for transportation to the Bled Island. This right is inherited and is handed over from one to next generation. Number of visitors to the Bled Island and Church of St. Mary, has increased significantly with the arrival of dr. Arnold Rikli and health spa tourism, as well as the railway in 1907. First Pletna boats, in the form as we know them today, were built in manufacture workshop in Mlino – Pr’ Turšč. As the role model they took the boat, which Duke Ernst Windisch-Graetz brought to Mlino – Bled in 1883. At that time, also the emperor Franz Josef I visited Bled and was taken on a boat ride in this particular boat. Locals from Mlino have then manufactured many Pletna boats and soon realized, that these boats are the best – they had better sailing capabilities, were faster and needed only one driver, since Plitvica boat needed two. Plitvica was soon left behind and became part of a history. New improved boat was called Pletna.

Name Pletna originates from Bavarian – German word Plätten – which means a vessel with straight under. Today Pletna is 7 to 7,5 m long and 2 – 2,3 m wide and can carry up to 18 people. Each Pletna is unique and it takes long hours of handcrafted work to build it. Many legends are connected to Pletna and the Bled island and the most famous one is the Legend about the Wishing bell, which is located on the Island in the church of St. Mary.
This is the story about eternal love and longing for this love. Bell was made in the 16th century by Franziskus Patavius in Padova. At that time, a young widow lived in Bled castle. Her husband was killed by robbers and his body was dumped in the Lake. She gathered all her silver and gold and ordered to make a bell for the Island Chappel. But the bell never arrived to the Island, since a horrendous storm captured the boat, which carried the bell and the bell was sunk to the bottom of the Lake. Even today you can sometimes hear the bell, ringing from somewhere beneath. Desperate widow, when she heard the news, has sold all her belongings and donated the money to build a church on the Island and went to Rome to join the convent. After her death, pope has donated new bell to the church on Bled Island.


Ring the Bell with your soul sincere

And send your wish high above

Your dream Come true is very near

If your heart is pure and filled with Love.

Today we cannot imagine Bled without Pletna boat. Season of visiting island is longer, since lake is not freezing anymore. Enjoy the traditional ride with Pletna boat, walk those 99 stairs, ring on the Wishing bell and experience the beneficial energy, which was worshipped by our ancestors.

Gregor Pazlar – Pletna boat driver

For more information or to make a reservation for a boat ride, please contact us at +386 40 330 243 or fill out the contact form below.

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