Celje Castle (Celjski zgornji grad)

Celje Castle



Location: Celje Map

Constructed: 1322, seat of Counts of Celje

Tel. +386 3 544 36 90

Fax: +386 3 428 79 31

Email: stari.grad@celje.si


Description of Celje Castel

Celje Castle is a medieval citadel located in a city of Celje in Central Slovenia.  The fortress of Celje was constructed in 1322 on a strategic mountain in the valley of Savinja river. It served as a seat of Counts of Celje. After the heir of the family was killed in 1456 the male line was extinguished and the castle was transferred to the royal possession. By the end of the 17th century military fortifications were largely abandoned. In 1755 local Count Gaisruck use these lands and medieval walls and tower for quarry. It caused extensive damage to the structure of the citadel. Only in 1846 reconstruction project began that reconstructed the roof, walls and other structures within the fortress.


Local claim that the old stronghold was connected to Bežigrad and Celje by secret underground passages that the counts used during time of trouble. Other locals also claim that one of the passageways were used to store treasures of the owners. A large dog used to live here, chained to the wall. Anyone who tried to steal noble's possessions was mauled by this aggressive creature. Although there have been some attempts to discover treasure chests in the mountain underneath the castle, unfortunately nothing was discovered.


The earliest mention of Celje Castle dates from 1322 "purchases of Cylie" and was later mentioned under the names "conscience Cili" (1341), "castrum Cilie" (1451), "gsloss Obercili" (1468), etc. Typically, the name "Obercili" - Gornje Celje appeared only after the extinction of the genus Counts of Celje. It was originally called Celje Castle .

The original castle building (Romanesque castle castle) was built in the first half of the 13th century by the counts of Vovbrski from Carinthia on the western rock face of the castle ridge. It had the character of an irregular perimeter castle. The ground surface has the form of a pentagon , or quadrilateral with angled south side, which is adapted to the ground. The first records of the castle date from 1125 to 1137; it was probably built by the frontier Count Gunter. In the western part stood a multi-storey building, a palace, from which the circumferential walls were preserved in the particles. In the eastern part, a courtyard with a large water reservoir was closed. On the eastern, most exposed side, there was a mantle shield, some 3 m higher than the rest of the perimeter wall. The summit was secured by a hurdo , a defensive corridor. In this form it represented the typical ministerial castle of the time.

The castle owned by Žovjek and Celje
The original castle probably burned down and collapsed in the fighting between the Lords of Zovek and the Aufenstein . Entrance to the castle are Žovnek freeholders arranged on the north side. The castle before the year 1300 added a new wreath walls and on the north side to strengthen the defensive tower that protected the income into the interior of the castle core. The walls ranged from natural mud in the east to the precipitous walls in the northeast. The entrance was moved to the south side, where it is today.

After the extinction of their relatives in 1334, the castle passed into the hands of the Lords of Zovek, from 1341 Counts of Celje, and from 1436 princes of Celje. The Counts of Celje began to remodel the fort into a more comfortable residential and official residence. Around 1400, a four-storey tower was added and later called the Frederick Tower ( Bergfried ). On the east side of the courtyard was a large three-story residential tower, which is the best preserved part of the castle behind the Frederick Tower. On the west side was a real residential building ( palace ). There were rooms for women here ( rocky). This section ended near the narrow suburbs and is poorly preserved. On the south side, a tower of Andrei was added to the palace. On the upstairs he had the chapel of St. Andrew . The medieval weapons of the castle could not be conquered, they could only make him happy, although he made a secret passage from the castle to the granary. The Counts of Celje had already ceased to live in the castle at that time and had a castle ( castellan ), the commander of the castle with an armed escort.

Celje Castle, in front of Savinja in Pečovnik towards the northeast and along its left bank the railway line to Ljubljana .

The earthquake of 1348 destroyed part of the Roman palace with a cliff. The demolished part was rebuilt and moved to the inside of the yard. In the 15th century, they expanded the suburbs on the east side of the ridge all the way to the rocky pit. Here, the walls connected to a strong pentagonal defense tower. In the second half of the 16th century the castle was rebuilt. The defensive walls increased in the core as well as in the suburbs. The courtyard was also renovated. The renovated part of the walls was equipped with Renaissance firing lines.

Upper Celje Castle at the time of the Holy Roman Empire
The first imperial administrator in 1461 became Christopher Pl. Ungnad, the second in 1463 by Yuri pl. Apfaltrer. In 1470, the Old Castle was taken over by Andrej pl. Hohenwart. Upon taking over, he promised to take good care of and maintain the castle. He did this service until his death in 1503. He was followed by Jacob pl. Landau, otherwise the ruler's ruler in Upper and Lower Swabia. The governorship of Emperor Maximilian I , the then German king, received in 1506, as he Landau loaned 10,000 florins .

In 1514, Landau was still ruler. Two years later in 1516, interim chief was Bernard Raunacher. The emperor instructed him that he should immediately hand over the leadership of Celje to Gašper Herbst and to enjoy himself with the enjoyment of the income of Novo mesto ( Rudolfswert ). He was later followed by others. Most of the chiefs held the duties of vicedom and housekeeper. Soon the role of the castle became less defensive and more and more economic.


The Upper Celje castle was then the most important castle not only in our country, but in all the Eastern Alps. The entire castle had an area of approximately 5500 m². From the present ruins and from the preserved depictions it is possible to get a more complete picture of the castle. Its architectural development has put into practice certain solutions that inspired many castles in the territories, to which the influence of the stars of Celje reached.

The castle began to collapse shortly after it lost its strategic importance. At the end of the 17th century, there was no roof on the Frederick Tower. It is no longer present on Vischer's depiction of the castle from 1681. In 1748, the roof brick was collected during the reconstruction of the lower (city) castle. In 1755, the castle was purchased by Count Gaisruck and also taken down the roof. He spent the most beautiful stonework on the construction of the Novo Celje mansion between Petrovci and Žalec . Therefore, it was no longer possible to live in the castle. The castle was turning into a ruin. The last inhabitants lived there in 1795.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the castle was bought by the farmer Andrej Gorišek in 1803, and the castle stones were used as a quarry.