Public space renewal in Celje's old city centre
Project leaderDarja Matjašec, Sergej Hiti
Assignment typeIDP, PGD (fontana), PZI
The city of Celje is the third largest city in Slovenia and its well-preserved paved Roman streets, magnificent castles and the remnants of the medieval walls in the city centre bear witness to its rich history that dates back to the Celts and the Romans. Today, Celje constitutes an administrative, business, economic, cultural, educational and tourist centre of the region. The renewed old city centre gave it a new and attractive image. The revamped squares and streets, urban facilities, and water features are popular meeting points and promenades for both the residents and the visitors to the city.
The project area includes four different public squares (one remains to be renewed) in the old city centre and two main pedestrian streets connecting them. Each of the public squares has a different programme and concept which is reflected in its design.
The entrance to the city is marked by a large prestigious Krekov trg (Krek Square) with a new fountain - a water feature marking the entrance to one of the most prominent buildings, the Celje Hall, built in a Neo-Gothic style. The fountain features twelve jets of water which offer enjoyment of water to the passers-by, an interesting playground for children and a refreshing sight and sound during hot summer months.
The Metropol Square is next to Metropol cinema, located in the People’s Savings Bank building which was designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, and is intended for various cultural events throughout the year. A newly built platform with wood covered edges providing seating under the existing plane trees is a venue for concerts, open air cinema and a variety of other events.
The streets equipped with street furniture were redesigned with pedestrians in mind, eliminating (almost) all traffic from the old city centre and incorporating the three-part pavement design that was one of the characteristics of the open space before the renewal. The motif of the star from the Celje coat of arms at the junction of the two main pedestrian streets was reconstructed and is still one of the most popular landmarks and meeting places in the city centre.
The renovation works were marked by astonishing archaeological finds: well-preserved paved Roman streets, fresh water wells, magnificent mosaics and other remnants from the ancient and medieval periods. At the crossing of the two main pedestrian streets, a stone well of approximately 1.40 m in diameter was discovered in 2013 during the construction work. It supposedly dates from the Late Roman period. The well was reconstructed in-situ (on site) and a coat of arms with three stars and the year 1781 can be observed on the upper rim.
During the refurbishment of the Glavni trg (Main Square), the rooms of two urban Roman villas and a Roman road with a pavement and a colonnade were unearthed. The two villas were lavishly furnished with wall paintings, floor mosaics and a hypocaust system. A portion of the finds will be presented in-situ and will be on display to the public.