Romantic, enticing, magnificent, dark, frightening – the Celje Old Castle. It is a must-see sight for all visitors to Celje, regardless of where they are from. A mighty walled castle towering over the city is sure to leave you speechless. Once you visit it, it will stay in your memories forever.
Once upon a time …
The earliest written reference to the Old Castle of Celje dates back to 1323. The original design only included a Romanesque palace and the walls. It was given its today’s scope and appearance by the Counts of Celje, the most renowned and notable noble dynasty seated in the area of present-day Slovenia. Their reign and power had a long reach and they had a substantial impact on the political fate of the Central European region. The first Count of Celje to move to the Celje Old Castle with his wife and four children was Friderik I. After moving in, he started to refurbish the castle into a more comfortable dwelling. In the following decades, they extended the curtain wall to include the eastern inner ward, while the four-storey guard tower (the Friderik Tower) took over the main defensive role. Herman II used this tower a dungeon as he locked up his own son Friderik II, after whom the tower is named, due to Friderik’s forbidden love for Veronika Deseniška After the demise of the Counts of Celje, the castle was inherited by the Habsburg dynasty who left it to their burgraves.
… and today?
A modern tourist info centre and café Veronika were added during the most recent renovation, making the castle an appealing tourist sight that offers stunning views of the city and the surroundings. The tourist info centre offers promotional brochures, information about the castle, Celje and its surroundings, and other sights and events in the town. It also stocks a varied choice of souvenirs and traditional handicraft products, official I FEEL SLOVENIA souvenirs, books etc.
Every last Saturday in August, the Celje Old Castle is the venue of a traditional medieval festival “Dežela Celjska vabi …” (“Land of Celje invites …”). Throughout the summer, the program Live History taking place there offers an immersive experience as the visitors can take part in sword fights with knights, shoot with bows, flirt with the princesses, unleash their creativity in medieval workshops etc.
Programs (subject to previous arrangement): guided tours, royal feast, knighting ceremony, weddings.