As an extracurricular activity with my Spring Slovene Course, we went on a one-day field trip in the Savinjska region, which is in the northeast part of Slovenia.
We visited the Hell Cave – Pekel Jama, and the Roman Necropolis – Rimska Nekropola. Followed by an awesome lunch – kosilo , on a tourist farm and last but no least, we visited the Old Castle Celje, Stari Grad Celje.
Pekel Jama – the Hell Cave
The entrance of the cave looks like the door to hell, therefore the name Hell Cave was given by the locals.
The widest part of the cave is at its entrance. The rest of the path is tight and quite low in some places. Due to the water dropping in the cave, it can become slippery and the temperature in the cave is around 10°C all year long. If you plan to visit the cave, wear a good pair of shoes and bring a warm jacket with you, even in the summer!
The Water Cave and the Dry Cave
The Hell Cave is consisted of two part: the water cave and the dry cave.
The water cave is where a small steam of water is running. And in that part, surprisingly, the highest underground waterfall in Slovenia can be seen and it is only 4 meters tall.
In the dry cave, there is an impressive ascension of stairs (for those who are afraid of height – it can be quite challenging). Stalagmites, that are formed over the years from the ceiling dripping, are always impressive to see.
The exit is at the top of the cave, and a very nice path bring us back down.
Rimska Nekropola – Roman Necropolis
As we know, the Roman Empire was present in many locations through Europe. Situated in Šempeter, just next to the Roman Necropolis, was an important road that connected Aquilea, Emona, Celeia and Poetovio (which are now called Oglej, Ljubljana, Celje and Ptuj).
The Roman Necropolis is in an open area, showing many tombs from the Roman era.
The site was discovered by accident: the statue of a sitting women was discovered during works in an orchard, soon after excavation started and over 2000 years of history emerged.
Every tomb has its own story engraved on them. It is quite impressive to look at and to admire how well it is preserved through the time.
Nearby, there is also the “Roman Road”, but we didn’t go.
Eating on a Tourist Farm
Tourist farms can be a very popular activity for tourist. It gives you a taste of the lifestyle on the farm. You can eat delicious grandma’s dishes and drink homegrown wine. Some tourist farm even let you help working on the farm.
Beautiful View from the Old Castle Celje
On a very sunny day, the view from the castle was breathtaking!
The Tale of the Counts of Celje
Between its walls, the Old Castle of Celje holds the history of the Counts of Celje, the most important noble family during the late medieval. Three Counts of Celje were particularly famous: Herman II, Friderik II and Ulrich II.
Herman II, the King Savior
During a battle, Count Herman II saved King Sigismund of Hungary. As a reward, he was given a good amount of lands, and he managed to leverage their status by marrying his daughter, Barbara of Celje to the King. Once Sigismund became the King of the Romans in 1433, the Count of Celje gained the rank of Prince.
Friderick II, the Tragic Lover
Within the walls of the castle, the tragic love tale of Friderick II, the son of Herman II. He was already married to Elizabeth of Frankopan, but had fallen in love with Veronika de Desenice, who became his second wife. (Rumors said that Friderick has murdered his first wife to be with Veronika).
The family of Elizabeth was very angry and Herman II, who was opposed to his son’s second union, arrested Friderick II. While Friderick II was imprisoned, he trialed Veronika for witchcraft and sentenced her to death.
Once Friderick II was released, he found out about the death of his dear Veronika.
Ulrich II, the Young King’s Keeper
Son of Friderick II of Celje, Ulrich II was the most powerful member of the family. He owned a lot of lands and had great influences in court. He attempted to get the Bosnia crown, but failed. He then managed to become the guardian of the boy King Ladislas the Prosthumous, and basically ruled Hungary. He was the last heir of Celje and he ended up getting murdered.
Want to know more about the Counts of Celje?
Anna Wambrechtsamer wrote a novel about the Counts of Celje: “Danes grofje celjski in nikdar več” (Counts of Celje today and never again). One day, I will definitively try to read this book… in Slovene!
I am not a specialist in history. If you want to visit the castle with a tour guide, more information can be found on the Stari Grad Celje Official Website.
I had an amazing trip with my classmates! The weather was fantastic! The food was delicious! The sights were interesting!
If you pass by Celje, I would totally recommend that you go visit the Old Castle Celje: simply for the history and the view! I personally haven’t been to the town of Celje – if you have suggestion of must-see, please let me know via the comment box!
More picture of my Field Trip in Savinjska can be found in my Gallery.
Until next time,