Once the largest fortification in Slovenia, the Old Castle Celje was built in the 12th century on three hills to the southeast of Celje, where the river Savinja meanders into the Laško valley. Its famous owners were the Counts of Celje, the most important Slovenian noble family. They transforming the fortress into a comfortable living quarter and their official residence. In the time of Herman II of Celje, who was the strongest and most influential ruler of the Celje dynasty, the counts reached the peak of their glory, successfully integrating themselves into the European political elite, and became connected to the most important noble dynasties of that time.
In the 14th century, the Counts of Celje built the so-called “bergfrid” on a hill. The 23 meter-high guard tower with walls as thick as 3 meters served as the last refuge from attackers. The first floor of the tower was a darkroom and above it were spaces intended for storage of weaponry and other equipment. The top floor of the original building was surrounded by a defence passageway. During an earthquake in 1348, part of the Romanesque palace and the rock on which it stood were destroyed.
The Celje Castle was not only the most important castle in Slovenia, but in the entire eastern Alps. Several new techniques were employed in the castle’s architectural development, which were the model for other castles in the region under Celje’s influence.
The castle began to fall into disrepair shortly after losing its strategic importance. The last residents left the castle in 1795.
Today, the renovated castle has become an attractive tourist spot, offering a spectacular view of the beautiful City of Celje and Savinja Valley.
Frederick’s Tower - the 23 meter-high guard tower was named after Frederick II, the first-born son of the Count Herman II of Celje. He disapproved of his son’s marriage to Veronika of Desenice and had Frederick imprisoned in the guard tower and his wife-never-to-be killed.