Arnold Rikli

Arnold Rikli, first natural healer in Slovenia
Arnold Rikli, first natural healer in Slovenia

Arnold Rikli was born on 13. Februar 1823 in Wangen an der Aare in Switzerland, he died on 30. April 1906 in Sankt Thomas in Koroška (former Austria-Hungary). He was Swiss hydropath and natural healer. He was healing with help of water. He came on Bled because of his illness. When he recovered here, he established him self as a pioneer of treatment with the help of nature, with sunbathing and swimming in the lake.


Arnold Rikli was a son of a wealthy Swiss and one of three sons. His father was very influential, he was dealing with policy and was the owner of factor for leather processing. As the father wanted to preserve the family tradition, he send all of his three sons to Jezernica, near Klagenfurt, where they established a new leather dye works. Here Arnold came in contact with chemicals, which made him very sick. He kindled his breast membrane, he also had a dysentery. As a result of these he began to search for a place where he could recover. He stumbled on Bled and in year 1852 went there. Here he felt like home because he liked the surroundings, fresh air, water air. Thus he started to excercise his own method of healing, which was based on swimming in cold water, bare sunbathing and strolling. In year 1854 he developed a European center for disease control and consolidation of health. He believed that the water, son and air are source of health. His well known saying is: ”Water is ofcourse beneficial, but even more air and most the light”. All his guests were living in a colony, they were taking a bath in a tub, they walked naked in the vicinity, especially on outlier Straža.

Because of his lofty altitude tovards the natives, they did not understand each other very well. He thought of them as uneducated and simple, for them he was a freak. Despite that he lived in Bled for next 52 years, he never learned Slovneian language and did not adopt the ways of locals. The called him Schweizar, because he came from Switzerland, or Solar doktor. Even the routing tables that were placed around the spa were in German language, which showed his atitude towards domestic residents.


The first visitors were pilgrims who came from Kranjska, Koroška, Štajerska, Primorje and Friuli and were pilgrimage to the Church of a Mother Devine on Bled islet. Rikli realized the value and advantage of climatic conditions and favorable position of Bled, which provided a long swimming season. Thus, in year 1895, opposite the Park hotel, he established simple wooden swimming pool in the Swiss style. Here he regulated Medical institute with kitchen, dining room and administrative areas. He regulated the Huts in the Park under the Chestnut trees for guest, specific for this kind of healing method. The interest increased and in year 1899 they built a new extensice pool. He also regulated walking paths and excursion routes. Not only the pacients came to Bled, he also started to invite other guests who wanted to spend their holidays in a healthy and beautiful enviroment. The number of guest began to rise sharply and after 1872 the ugraded the railway line Treviso – Ljubljana. Thus the village also got its railway station in Lesce. In year 1903 Bled was awarded a gold medal at the international exhibition of heatlth resorts, which took place in Vienna. In year 1906 Bled officialy became an important tourist place of former Austria-Hungary. In the Spa park his followers erected him a monument for his 50th anniversary. On Bled still stands his villa and is also in protection of monuments, but unfortunately it is falling apart.


Slovenia has only one island, but its uniqueness makes it more attractive. With its charm was, for centuries, a symbol of the town in which turists from all over the world like to return. This place, which exists for thousands of years, is Bled. It is one of the oldest and beautiful tourist places in Slovenia. [_Read more_]

travel-slovenia-rikli-path-viewRikli path
Rikli path was established during the time Arnold Rikli was active as a healer in Bled. Here he and his patients lived under the principles of his healing (water, air and sun). Part of daily routine was also a morning walk on empty stomach, where they hiked up the hill Straža barefoot. [_Read more_]