Counts of Celje Exhibition. Celeia Exhibition – City Beneath the City with the preserved ancient heritage of Celje, the Paths of Alma M. Karlin exhibition or the Celje Ceiling. What to choose?
Celje Regional Museum has been collecting, protecting and representing the cultural heritage of Celje for over 130 years. A comprehensive view of the history and culture of the Celje region is offered in two central city exhibition venues (Prince’s Mansion and the Old Landgrave’s House) as well as ten external ones. To get a feel of the whole city, come to the Regional Museum. It took the Counts of Celje decades to build this ambitious aristocratic architectural masterpiece in the 14th–15th centuries. With the third phase of the restoration of the Prince’s Mansion, the two most important exhibitions of the Celje Regional Museum came to life: Celeia – The City Beneath the City, the largest in situ preserved ancient archaeological exhibition on the flourishing ancient Roman Celeia, and the Counts of Celje Exhibition, bringing the Counts of Celje as the most influential dynasty of all time in Slovenia back home. An exciting one among the permanent exhibitions is the Paths of Alma M. Karlin exhibition. Here, you can travel with the most prominent Celje-based traveller in history. In the Old Landgrave’s House, you will see the breathtakingly mysterious Celje Ceiling painting commissioned by the Counts of Thurn-Valsassina at the passage from the Renaissance to the Baroque. The Celje Regional Museum never runs out of history and new stories.
The Celje Regional Museum has its premises in two prominent historical buildings located in the Celje old town – at the Prince’s Mansion and the Old Landgrave’s House. In addition, you can find its contents in ten other locations outside Celje.
Counts of Celje Exhibition
The first exhibition area of the Celje Regional Museum is the Prince’s Mansion. Dating from between the 14th and 15th centuries, it was built by the Counts of Celje, the country’s most influential dynasty and the only one to have contacts with the then Renaissance artistic movements of Europe. Strolling through the Counts of Celje exhibition, you catch the spirit of the time of this noble family and their magnificent architecture including the two knights’ halls. The Counts of Celje exhibition is spread over two floors presenting the rapid rise of this dynasty at the time of Herman II of Celje at the end of the 14th century, and when his son Frederick II and grandson Ulrich II were granted titles of Princes of the State by the Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, thus fulfilling Herman’s great ambitions. From the very beginning, the Celje Regional Museum has been collecting and valuing the rare found remains of the Counts’ heritage. Today, these testify, together with written sources, to the greatness and importance of the Counts. There are plenty of these resources available since many dramatic stories such as the tragic love between Frederick and Veronica have grown into myths. At some point in the 19th century, they were even regarded as holders of the Slovenian statehood. Since 1956, the Celje Regional Museum has been in possession of their skulls. Today, these are part of the exhibition. When viewing these in a darkened room, the feeling becomes mystical. The idea of this fabulously wealthy and uncompromising family, who wanted to accomplish their goals regardless of the means necessary, becomes even more tangible and deeply rooted in people’s minds.
Celeia Exhibition – City Beneath the City
Descend to the ancient walls testifying to the rich history of Celje. In the basement of the Prince’s Mansion, the ancient Roman face of the city becomes evident. Celeia – City Beneath the City is the archaeological exhibition of ancient Celeia, the largest in situ presentation of the remains of a flourishing city supposedly called “the second Troy”. Close by, you will be impressed by ancient Roman walls, remnants of an old Roman road with still visible wheel tracks, and a statue made of Pohorje marble built into the medieval walls. You can imagine how the ancient Romans travelled from the distant Emona, present-day Ljubljana, towards Celeia by cart. During the reign of Emperor Claudius (41–54 A. D.), i.e. the period when Noricum became a Roman province, Celeia was among the first to gain the status of an independent city with the full name of Municipium Claudium Celeia. The next two centuries represented a period of the greatest prosperity and growth for the city.
From Sewing Needle to Stars Exhibition
Even more remote in time is the prehistory presented on the Prince’s Mansion’s first floor. The archaeological exhibition named From Sewing Needle to Stars presents fossilised remains of ancient fauna and flora, as well as the heritage of cultures which long ago marked the life along the Savinja River. Among the remains of the Stone, Iron and Bronze Age, you will be impressed by everyday life items, from tools and dishes to weapons. Among the most important finds are the ones from the Potočka zijalka Cave below the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, where prehistoric remains were discovered, including a 35,000-year-old (the world’s oldest) sewing needle, made of a bone of a cave bear.
Old Landgrave’s House
The Old Landgrave’s House is the second (and the original) Celje Regional Museum’s exhibition area. The Renaissance style in which it is built is evident by its vaulted outer corridors running on two floors where the original owners, the Counts of Thurn-Valsassina, once walked. Along its southern facade, the Old Landgrave’s House overlooks the Savinja River. This part of the building houses four exhibitions taking you from far antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century.
It is worth having a look at the country’s largest Lapidarium housing ancient Roman statues, monuments and other remains made of Pohorje marble. Place yourself side by side with a stone antique soldier and find out what deities once used to be believed in. Moreover, discover who Titus Varius Clemens was, the most famous son of ancient Celeia.
The furniture, vessels and statues of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque decorate the Culture Historical Collection. Start your journey with the 13th century collection and finish it with the 20th century, while the most significant stop is the one right in the middle. t the beginning of the 17th century, the incredible Celje Ceiling was created to adorn the Old Landgrave’s House’s ceremonial hall. It is a masterpiece of European Baroque art, but at the same time a great puzzle: it is neither known by whom nor when exactly it was created. This canvas ceiling painting is made with tempera in an illusionist style. Identify giants and seasons, people’s daily jobs and the Trojans’ dramatic clash.
On the first floor of the Old Landgrave’s House, a special feature is on display, the exhibition called From Gothic to Historic Step-By-Step, which is tailored to visually impaired visitors and encouraging the use of alternative sensory pathways. For each visitor, one exhibit is customised for each of the nine time periods presented. At an appropriate height, it is ready for being touched by all those who might otherwise just be listening to the descriptions of the exhibition. Descriptions in enlarged font and braille are also available.
Paths of Alma M. Karlin Exhibition
Have you ever heard of Columbus’ daughter? This is how this famous lady traveller was called by the citizens of Celje. The permanent exhibition called Paths of Alma M. Karlin is dedicated to one of the most prominent Celje-based ladies in history. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Alma M. Karlin was best known for being a global traveller and writer, having travelled the world all alone and long before GPS, online dictionaries and low cost airlines. While the polyglot and theosophist travelled with her Erika typewriter, she was making a living from her journalistic and teaching work. She was sending letters from the most remote, unknown places, and bringing home all kinds of items such as shells, typical clothing and even seeds. The clothes, herbariums, comprehensive stories and much more will take you on a journey through South and North America all the way to Australia, Japan and crossing India back home to the Celje Railway Station.
In addition to regular exhibitions under the auspices of the Celje Regional Museum, you can also visit a number of displaced outdoor exhibitions.