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History

The beginnings of the Dynasty of the counts of Celje date back to the time of the gentlemen from Žovnek Castle in the Lower Savinja Valley. After the extinction of the Counts of the Vovbrk, Žovnek acquired their possessions, including the old castle. Friderik Žovneški moved to Celje with his family and during that time he modernized and consolidated the castle building into a more comfortable residential residence. Soon after, in 1341, he was elevated to Count of Celje, which represents the beginning of the dynasty of Counts of Celje. This is also the period form which today's Coat of arms of Celje derives from - three golden stars in the blue field.

Celje's peak was reached during the reign of Herman II. of Celje. To save themselves from the Habsburg supremacy, Herman II. began to connect with the ambitious Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxembourg and kept him from the Turkish hands in a great battle with Nikopol. Sigismund later married Herman's youngest daughter, Barbara, who later became a Hungarian, and then a German and Czech queen. Her freedom of thought, religious tolerance, and above all the interest in alchemy and astrology sprung up spirits for many years after her death. Her granddaughter, Elizabeth Habsburg, married a Polish king with her 13 children, ten of whom survived.

During the reign of Herman II. of Celje, who was the strongest and most influential ruler of the Celje family, counts successfully integrated to the European political summit and to associate with the most important noble families of that time. In 1436 Sigismund of the Duke of Luxembourg raised two representatives of the Celje family - Friderik II and Ulrik II.

Friderik II. was the eldest son of Herman II. and so determined for his succession. In the history of Celje, he is known for the unhappy love of Veronika Deseniška. Because of political ambitions, his father married Elizabeth Frankopan, whom Friderik was not happy with. When his wife Elizabeth was found murdered, he had a free way to marry his beloved Veronica, which embarrassed the reputation of the dynasty. For this reason, his father locked him up in the 23 m high tower and ordered Veronika to be murdered. Later his son Friderik had to be omitted due to inheritance, and the Celje dynasty continued to climb on the scale of social, economic and political power until the family was elevated to the title of princes. This brought about a dispute with the Habsburg family, which later concluded a peace treaty and a mutual hereditary treaty, on the basis of which, after the extinction of the Celje family, the Habsburgs inherited all of Celje's possessions in the Roman-German empire. The Celje family died out in 1456 with the murder of the last male offspring, Ulrik II. of Celje.
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