CILLI (Slovene, Celje), a town in Styria, Austria, 82 m. S. by W. of Graz by rail. Pop. (1900) 6743. It is picturesquely situated on the left bank of the river Sann, and still has remains of the old walls and towers, with which it was once surrounded. Memorials of a still earlier period in its history - Roman antiquities - are to be seen in the municipal museum, while its canals and sewers are also of Roman origin. These were discovered during the second half of the 19th century, and were in such a good state of preservation that after a few small repairs they are now utilized. The parish church, dating from the 14th century, with its beautiful Gothic chapel, is one of the most interesting specimens of medieval architecture. The so-called German church, in Romanesque style, belonged to the Minorite monastery, founded in 1241 and closed in 1808. The throne of the counts of Cilli is preserved here, and also the tombs of several members of the family. On the Schlossberg (1320 ft.), situated to the S.E. of the town, are the ruins of the castle of Ober-Cilli, the former residence of the counts of Cilli. Ten miles to the N.W. of Cilli are situated the baths of Neuhaus, with indifferent thermal waters (117° F.), frequented by ladies. Not far from it is the ruined castle of Neuhaus, called since 1643 Schlangenburg, from which an extensive view of the neighbouring Alps is obtained.
Cilli is one of the oldest places in Styria, and was probably a Celtic settlement. It was taken possession of by the Romans in 15 B.C., and in A.D. 50 the emperor Claudius raised it to a Roman municipium and named it Claudia Celeja. It soon became one of the most flourishing Roman colonies, and possessed numerous great buildings, of which the temple of Mars was famous throughout the whole empire. It was incorporated with Aquileia, under Constantine; and towards the end of the 6th century was destroyed by the invading Slavs. It had a period of exceptional prosperity from the middle of the 14th to the latter half of the 15th century, under the counts of Cilli, on the extinction of which family it fell to Austria. In the 16th century it suffered greatly both from revolts of the peasantry and from the Counter-Reformation, Protestantism having made many converts in the district, particularly among the nobles.
See Glantschnigg, Celeja (Cilli, 1892).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)