Celje Castle - History - Early History

Early History

The earliest reference to Celje Castle dates from 1322 and calls it “purch Cylie”. Later, the castle was known by various names, including “vest Cili” (1341), “castrum Cilie” (1451), “gsloss Obercili” (1468). It is noteworthy that the name “Obercili” - Upper Celje - only appears after the Counts of Celje had died out. Its original name was “grad Celje” (Celje Castle).

The first fortified building on the site (a Romanesque palace) was built in the first half of the 13th century by the Counts of Heunburg from Carinthia on the stony outcrop on the western side of the ridge where the castle stands. It had five sides, or four plus the southern side, which was a natural defence. The first written records of the castle date back to between 1125 and 1137; it was probably built by Count Gunter. In the western section of the castle, there was a building with several floors. Remains of the walls of this palatium have survived. In the eastern section, there was an enclosed courtyard with large water reservoirs. The eastern wall, which protects the castle from its most exposed side, was around three metres thicker than the rest of the curtain wall. The wall was topped with a parapet and protected walkway. This was typical of Ministerialis castles of the time.

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