—  City and Municipality  —
Celje from the Celje Castle in 2004


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Knežje mesto (The Prince Town)
Location of the Municipality of Celje in Slovenia
Celje is located in Slovenia
Location of the city of Celje in Slovenia
Coordinates: 46°14′09″N 15°16′03″E / 46.23583°N 15.2675°E / 46.23583; 15.2675
Country  Slovenia
Municipality Celje
Municipal Rights AD 45 (as municipium Claudia Celeia)
Districts & local communities
 - Mayor Bojan Šrot (SLS)
 - Total 94.9 km2 (36.6 sq mi)
Elevation 241 m (791 ft)
Population (2010)
 - Total 37,520
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 3000
Area code(s) 03
Twin Cities
 - Grevenbroich  Germany
 - Singen  Germany
 - Slavonski Brod  Croatia
Website celje.si
Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, census of 2002.

Celje (About this sound listen ) is a typical Central European town and the third largest town in Slovenia. It is a regional center of Lower Styria and the administrative seat of the Urban Municipality of Celje (Slovene: Mestna občina Celje). The town of Celje is located under Upper Celje Castle (407 m) at the confluence of the Savinja, Ložnica, and Voglajna rivers in the lower Savinja Valley. It lies 241 m above mean sea level (MSL).[1]

The Celje region is frequently shaken by minor earthquakes.

In the local colloquial Slovene dialect, Celje is called Cjele or Cele, giving it a special modulation, spoken mainly by its citizens.



Stane street with the Cathedral of the Prophet Daniel in the background

The first settlement in the area of Celje appeared during the Hallstatt era. The settlement was known in the Celtic times and to Ancient Greek historians as Kelea; findings suggest that Celts coined Noric money in the region.

Once the area was incorporated in the Roman Empire in 15 BC, it was known as Civitas Celeia. It received municipal rights in AD 45 under the name municipium Claudia Celeia during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54). Records suggest that the town was rich and densely populated, secured with the walls and towers, containing multi-storied marble palaces, wide squares, and streets. It was called Troia secunda, the second; or small Troy. A Roman road through Celeia led from Aquileia (Sln. Oglej) to Pannonia. Celeia soon became a flourishing Roman colonies, and many great buildings were constructed, such as the temple of Mars, which was known across the Empire. Celeia was incorporated into Aquileia ca. 320 under the Roman Emperor Constantine I (272-337).

The city was razed by Slavic tribes during the Migration period of the 5th and 6th centuries, but was rebuilt in the Early Middle Ages. The first mention of Celje in the Middle Ages was under the name of Cylie in Wolfhold von Admont's Chronicle, which was written between 1122 and 1137.

Celje, Georg Matthäus Vischer, Topographia Ducatus Stiriae, Graz 1681

The town was the seat of the Counts of Celje from 1341 to 1456 It acquired market-town status in the first half of the 14th century and town privileges from Count Frederick II on 11 April 1451.

After the Counts of Celje died out in 1456, the region was inherited by the Habsburgs of Austria and administered by the Duchy of Styria. The city walls and defensive moat were built in 1473. The town defended itself against Turks and in 1515 during great Slovene peasant revolt against peasants, who had taken Old Castle.

Many local nobles converted to Protestantism during the Protestant Reformation, but the region was converted back to Roman Catholicism during the Counter-Reformation. Celje became part of the Habsburgs' Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1867, after the defeat of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War, the town became part of Austria-Hungary.

The first service on the Vienna-Trieste railway line came through Celje on 27 April 1846. In 1895, Celje secondary school, established in 1808, began to teach in Slovene.

At the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, Celje was a center of German nationalism which had repercussions for Slovenes. The 1910 census showed that 66,8% of the population was German.[2] A symbol of this was the German Cultural Center(German: Deutsches Haus), built in 1906 and opened on 15 May 1907, today it is Celje Hall (Slovene: Celjski dom). The centuries-old German name of the town, Cilli, sounded no longer German enough to some German residents, the form Celle being preferred by many. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica listed the town under the German name Cilli.

Population growth was steady during this period. In 1900, Celje had 6,743 inhabitants and by 1924 this had grown to 7,750. The National Hall (Narodni dom), which hosts the Mayors Office and Town Council today, was built in 1896. The first telephone line was installed in 1902 and the city received electric power in 1913.

Slovene and German ethnic nationalism increased during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918 as a result of World War I, Celje became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as Yugoslavia). During this period, the town experienced a rapid industrialization and a substantial growth in population.

Celje, pictured in 1750. The river Voglajna can be seen on the left, flowing into the Savinja. The island district is called Otok, Slovene for 'island'.

Celje was occupied by Nazi Germany in April 1941. The Gestapo arrived in Celje on 16 April 1941 and were followed three days later by SS leader Heinrich Himmler, who inspected Stari pisker. During the war the city suffered from allied bombing, aimed at important communication lines and military installations. The National Hall was severely damaged.

The toll of the war on the city was heavy. The city (including nearby towns) had a pre-war population of 20,000 and lost 575 people during the war, mostly between the ages of 20 and 30. More than 1,500 people were deported to Serbia or into the German interior of the Third Reich. Around 300 people were interned and around 1,000 people imprisoned in Celje's prisons. An unknown number of citizens were 'forcibly' conscripted into the German army. Around 600 "stolen children" were taken to Nazi Germany for germanization. A monument in Celje called Vojna in mir (War and Peace) by the sculptor Jakob Savinšek, commemorates the World War II era.

After the end of the war, the remaining German-speaking portion of the populace was expelled. The new communist government took advantage of existing anti-tank trenches, dug around Celje by the retreating German army, by using them as mass graves. They were filled with Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian militia members who had collaborated with the Germans, as well as civilians who had opposed either the national liberation movement or the communist revolution during the war, civilians of German descent or simply individuals accused or suspected of anti-communism. The purpose was to physically eliminate any potential political opposition, on the pretext of collaboration with the enemy. The Yugoslav National Army executed more than 80,000 - mostly Croat, German and Slovenian - prisoners in the Celje area, without any judicial process. The bodies were buried in hidden mass graves in Celje; the exact number is still not known. At the concentration camp at Teharje, some 5,000 Slovenians, hundreds of them minors, were murdered within two months after the end of the war, again without trial. Furthermore, refugee trains carrying German civilians from the "Rann triangle" area were halted near Celje on August 5, 1945 and their passengers sent to a concentration camp at Teharje. After the camp was closed in 1950, the local authorities established a huge industrial dump over the graveyard there, concealing the evidence of killings under a mound of toxic waste. In the middle 70s, 30 years after crimes, the local authorities build preschools, schools, blocks, halls and other objects on mass graves. In 1991, when it became possible again to discuss the facts pertaining to the massacre, the Slovenian government decided to build a memorial to the victims of Teharje.

Celje became part of independent Slovenia following the Ten-Day War in 1991. On April 7, 2006, Celje became the seat of a new Diocese of Celje, created by Pope Benedict XVI within the Archdiocese of Maribor. The town's tourist sights include a Grayfriars' monastery founded in 1241 and a palace from the 16th century.


Escutcheon of Ulrich II of Celje

The coat of arms of Celje are based on the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje.

The coat-of-arms of Celje was selected for the national arms immediately after World War I in 1918, when Slovenia together with Croatia and Serbia formed the original Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). A similar coat of arms was integrated into the Slovenian national arms in 1991.


An old postcard of the railway station in front, Celje Hall on the right, and the Iron Court (Železni dvor, Eisenhof) on the far left


39 settlements are included in the urban municipality:

Districts and local communities

The National Hall (Narodni dom), today the town hall, (Jan Vladimír Hráský, 1895-1896)
The Celje Hall (Celjski dom), (Peter Paul Brang, 1905-1906)

The town of Celje is divided into 10 districts (mestne četrti) and the municipality 9 local communities (krajevne skupnosti):


Local communities


Year Population[3]
1439 1,000
1798 1,400
1820 1,635
1834 1,511
1840 1,793
1900 6,743
Year Population
1924 7,750
1940 20,000
1995 40,710
2002 48,081
2007 45,826
2010 50,039

In 1991 in the town lived:

Celje has 47,660 citizens as of 2002:

  • Male: 22,744;
  • Female: 24,816;
  • Households: 18,410;
  • Mean number of household members: 2.6;
  • Apartments: 19,578;
  • Buildings with apartments: 8,090.

The Celje annual municipal festival is held on April 11.


Celje does not have its own university, although some college-level education has been established in the city. The Faculty of Logistics, formally part of the University of Maribor, was established in Celje in 2005. In 2006, Tehnopolis Celje was established, a technological center with an international university. The project will be completed in 2013.

Law and government


The current mayor of Celje is Bojan Šrot, elected for the fourth time in 2010.


In Celje there are three courts of general jurisdiction:

  • Celje Higher Court;
  • Celje District Court;
  • Celje Local Court.

In addition to that there are also Celje Labour Court for resolving labour law disputes and an external department of Administrative Court for resolving disputes arising from administrative procedures.


Postal number: SI-3000 (from 1991). (Old one: 63000 (between 1945–1991)).

Twin cities and friendship towns

Twin cities[4]
Grevenbroich  Germany (since 1986)
Singen  Germany (since 1990)
Slavonski Brod [4][5]  Croatia (since 2010)
Friendship towns
Budva  Montenegro
Cherepovets  Russia
Ćuprija  Serbia
Graz  Austria
Spittal an der Drau  Austria

Notable residents

  • Hermann II of Celje (1365–1435), Count of Celje, Ortenburg and Seger
  • Anna of Celje (1381–1416), second wife of Jogaila - king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania
  • Barbara of Celje (1390/1395-1451), second wife of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
  • Ulrich II of Celje (1406–1456), Count of Celje
  • Thomas Berlower (Thomas of Cilli) (1421–1496), Bishop of Konstanz from 1491–1496
  • Ambrosy of Belaya Crintsa (Ambrosy of Belaya Crintsa) (1791–1863), Old Believers Bishop
  • Johann Krainz(1847–1907), Austrian writer ("Hans von der Sann")
  • Vatroslav Oblak (1864–1896), linguist
  • Josip Tominšek (1872–1954), linguist and alpinist
  • Cvetko Golar (1879–1965), poet and author
  • Margarete Weinhandl(1880–1975), Austrian writer
  • Vladimir Levstik (1886–1957), author and translator
  • August Friedrich Seebacher (1887–1940), painter and graphic artist
  • Alma Karlin (1889–1950), traveller, author, poet, and collector
  • Anica Černej (1900–1944), poet, author, and schoolmistress
  • Thea Gammelin (1906–1988), painter
  • Josef Kaiser (1910–1991), architect
  • Darinka Pavletič-Lorenčak (born 1924), painter and graphic artist, poet, honorary citizen of Celje
  • Andrej Hieng (born 1925), author
  • Lojze Rozman (1930–1997), actor
  • Milan Pogačnik (born 1946), politician
  • Janez Drozg (1933–2005), film director
  • Emerik Bernard (born 1937), painter
  • Janez K. Lapajne (born 1937), geophysicist and seismologist
  • Janez Drnovšek (1950–2008), politician, statesman, and third president of Slovenia
  • Bina Štampe Žmavc (born 1951), poet and author
  • Brina Zupančič (born 1953), pianist and composer
  • Jelko Kacin (born 1955), politician
  • Oto Pestner (born 1956), musician and singer
  • Romana Jordan Cizelj (born 1966), physicist and politician
  • Janez Lapajne (born 1967), film director
  • Gregor Cankar (born 1975), athlete
  • Jolanda Čeplak (born 1976), athlete
  • Urška Žolnir (born 1981), judoist
  • Beno Udrih (born 1982), basketball player
  • Lucija Polavder (born 1984), judoka
  • Vita Mavrič, chanteuse and singer
  • Janko Orožen, historian
  • Andreja Rihter, minister of culture of Slovenia
  • Draža Mihailović (1893–1946), Serbian resistance leader
  • Bogumil Vošnjak (1882–1955), scholar, politician, diplomat



  1. ^ Celje Municipality site
  2. ^ For more information on the 1910 Austro-Hungarian census, see Geographischer Atlas zur Vaterlandskunde an der österreichischen Mittelschulen. K. u. k. Hof-Kartographische Anstalt G. Freytag & Berndt, Vienna 1911.
  3. ^ Orožen, pp. 362-365
  4. ^ a b "Partnerska mesta" (in Slovene). http://moc.celje.si/uprava/cgi/MOC.cgi?page=doc&doc=partnerska_mesta. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  5. ^ Sporazum o prijateljstvu i suradnji između Grada Slavonskog Broda i Mestne občine Celje


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Orožen, Janko (1971). Zgodovina Celja in okolice, 1. del (History of Celje and surroundings) (in Celjski zbornik ed.). Celje: Kulturna skupnost v Celju. 

External links

Coordinates: 46°14′09″N 15°16′03″E / 46.23583°N 15.2675°E / 46.23583; 15.2675

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  • Celje — ▪ Slovenia Italian and German  Cilli        city, central Slovenia, on the Savinja River about 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Ljubljana, Slovenia s capital. Founded as Claudia Celeia by the Roman emperor Claudius in the 1st century AD, it was home …   Universalium

  • Celje — Original name in latin Celje Name in other language Cel e, Cele, Celeia, Celje, Cel Cilli, Gorad Cehle, Tsel e, Tselie, cai lie, chelle, tsuCeljeerye, Горад Цэле, Целе, Цельє, Целје, Цеље State code SI Continent/City Europe/Ljubljana longitude 46 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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