Celje, The Town Of Counts With a Handball Soul
Celje is a city that is very closely connected with its history. The Romans left their mark in the city, and at the height of its glory it was one of the most important European centers. This Styrian city was ruled by one of the most powerful and influential count families. The place under their castle has developed into a modern, heavily fortified and lively center. Even today, with many museums, connections with nature and experiences, it is one of the most beautiful in Slovenia. Celje is a family-friendly city, as almost every corner of the city, whether it is a shop, inn or park, has a playground, books and other activities that will brighten up the children’s day. Celje is especially lively during many events, including sporting ones, which last throughout the year and offer entertainment for both children and adults.
The Old Castle of Celje
The medieval Old Castle of Celje has been the most visited tourist spot for many years. It offers a beautiful view of the city and it turns into a unique festival venue in the summer months. An important milestone in the history of Celje in the Middle Ages was the reign of the Counts of Celje, who actively shaped European political events and reached the very top of European politics.
The beautiful building on Krek Square was once the German House. It was built in the Neo-Gothic style and considered the social center of Celje’s German bourgeoisie until the disintegration of old Austria. It was later renamed Celjski dom, which housed the cinema. Krek Square is also an ideal starting point for a walking tour around the city.
Celje Old Town
Different and veried experiences in a small space. Romantic streets in the old town, small corners for mysterious talks in the city park, architecture that shows the richness and diversity of the past, the varied content of museums, galleries and much more. Indulge in the atmosphere of the streets and take a walk through the city.
The neo-renaissance building of the Narodni dom stands on the Counts of Celje Square, which is decorated with glass domes. It was built in 1895-96 according to the plans of the Czech architect Vladimir Hrasky. In the time of old Austria, the Narodni dom was the cultural and social center of the Celje bourgeoisie, and today it houses the offices of the Municipality of Celje.
The Old Counts’ Mansion
The picturesque building was built in the late Renaissance by the Counts of Thurn – Valsassina. In the central hall is the famous Celje ceiling, a unique example od illusionist painting in Slovenia.
The Prince’s Mansion
The Prince’s Mansion, the former residence of the Counts of Celje, was the most famous castle in Slovenia in the Middle Ages. Today, it houses the Celje Regional Museum with permanent exhibitions: Celeia – a city under the city, Counts of Celje and From the needle to the stars.
Tourist Information Centre with the Pavilion for the Presentation of Archaeological Remains
During the renovation of the city center, the premises of two Roman city villas and a Roman road were discovered on the Main Square. The villas were luxuriously furnished with wall paintings, floor mosaics and hot air heating. Some of these archaeological finds are presented in the Archeology Presentation Pavilion. For this, the city received the prestigious European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2019. There is also a modern Tourist Information Center, which is an interesting tourist spot for domestic and foreign visitors.
The City Hall
Striking buildings of the city center include the 17th century City Hall building. Its special features are the Renaissance core and the classicist facade with a balcony. In the first half of the 19th century, the building was thoroughly rebuilt for the city magistrate, and today it houses the Museum of Recent History of Celje and the only children’s museum in Slovenia, Herman’s Lair.
The Celje Central Library
The Central Library of Celje is the third largest library in Slovenia and the largest cultural institution in Celje. Since 2010, it has been located in one of the most beautiful locations in town, on the banks of the Savinja River. It is also a place of lifelong learning and socializing, and with events it creates a lively cultural and social pulse in the city. There is also Miško Knjižko Café inside.
What to do?
The Old Caste of Celje
The Old Castle of Celje is considered a recognizable event venue. It is an elite location where selected cultural, tourist, economic, banquet and entertainment events are held, and it is also a popular spot for hikers and cyclists.
During the summer, many events, concerts and performances take place within the castle walls. Among them is the very popular Living History, which presents the life of the Middle Ages with animated groups and ends with a two-day medieval event. The summer brings many concerts in the central castle area, and visitors can also take guided tours, visit the permanent exhibitions Theater of Horror, Under the Golden Stars and experience virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality.
The Celje Regional Museum
The museum, founded in 1882, is today considered the second oldest museum in Slovenia. He exhibits his collections in two exhibition halls: in the Prince’s Mansion and in the Old Counts’ Mansion. In the latter, the central attraction of the museum is on display – the Celje ceiling, the exhibition of Alma M. Karlin Poti, which reveals the life of a world traveler and writer. In the Prince’s Mansion you can see Celeia – the city below the city, Counts of Celje and From the needle to the stars.
The Celje Museum of Recent History
When visiting the Museum of Recent History, you can see the permanent exhibition Living in Celje, a story about the life of Celje and the people of Celje in the 20th century, visit Herman’s Lair, the only children’s museum in Slovenia, take a look at the Josip Pelikan’s Skylight Photo Studio, the only preserved glass studio in Slovenia from the end of the 19th century, get acquainted with the rich technical heritage of Slovenian dentistry at the Dental Collection or visit Stari pisker, a memorial space for victims of Nazi violence from the Second World War.
The Center of Contemporary Art
The Center for Contemporary Arts is a space of diversity and connection, close to the idea of equality, acceptance and cooperation. It consists of three exhibition spaces: the Art Salon, the Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Erotic Gallery Račka. With its preservation, new acquisitions and occasional presentation of the permanent collection, it is one of the most important spaces of modern and contemporary art in the region. The basic mission is the study, production and presentation of contemporary art.
Tehnopark Celje, the largest science and entertainment park in Slovenia, presents numerous interactive contents and exhibits that show in an instructive and interesting way natural phenomena, structure and functioning of the human body, “reality of illusions” and technological-scientific challenges of the present and future.
The Celje Hut
On the slope above the town, the Celje hut is located in unspoiled nature. For adrenaline enthusiasts, there is a descent on the ZIP line, a ride in the “bobsled track” of the summer toboggan run and an adventure park with a ten meter high “monkey tree”. Enthusiasts in road and mountain biking will find many trails of varying difficulty levels. The sports and recreation center and the city center are connected by numerous hiking trails suitable for all generations. In winter there is a popular ski resort. It is equipped with lighting for night skiing.
The Šmartinsko Lake
Šmartinsko Lake is located in the immediate vicinity of Celje and is an attractive excursion point with its varied shore and interesting surroundings. There are walking paths around the lake, which are also suitable for running. The surrounding tourist farms offer a varied culinary offer. Adrenaline activities are interesting: wake lift and new ski jumps for acrobatic diving. Šmartinsko Lake is very attractive for lovers of vultures and canoes, as well as for many fishermen.
The City Forest Tree House
The tree house, which emerged from a tree observatory in the middle of the city forest, is today one of the city’s attractions. With its imposing appearance, it takes the breath away of every visitor. It is open to visits by individuals and groups, and is also a popular walking destination for families, school groups and tourists. In summer, it hosts cultural and musical events and a range of events for children.
The City Market
The richly stocked city market is one of the city’s popular gathering places, where you can try many local delicacies. With its renewed image, in 2011 it was included in the selection of the 39 best projects for the European Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe.
The Celje Economy
Celje has developed from a typical industrial city into a city focused on sustainable development. It is proud of its craftsmen and fast-growing, innovative companies that are also successful abroad. In accordance with the legislation and budgetary possibilities, the Municipality of Celje strives to promote the development of entrepreneurship and crafts as much as possible by building local infrastructure and a stimulating environment. The International Fair of Crafts and Entrepreneurship, which is the largest business event in this part of Europe, is also important. For more than 50 years, with its positive and multiplicative effects, it has had a significant impact on the development of the city and the local economy.