Traces of occupation from the Neolithic age, the La Tene civilization and the Roman period have been found around Varaždin castle. Despite this, the first mention of the town is found in a document from 1181, when King Bela III confirmed the rights of the Zagreb Curia to the thermal spas in the area.
In 1209, it was declared a free town by King Andrew II and it began to develop as a trading center. In the late 14th century it passes into the hands of the counts of Celjski, followed by the counts of Frankopan, Brandenburg and Erdődy. In 1446, a fire destroyed it and in 1527 the Turks attacked.
In 1776 another fire destroyed the houses, but the Baroque buildings for which the town is famous were fortunately spared.
It’s unknown when exactly this castle was built, though some documents suggest it dates back to the 12th century. It was built over the ruins of an observation tower and, in the 15th century, 2 round towers were added.
The castle was rebuilt in 1560 by the Italian architect Domenico dell’Allio, who created a Renaissance structure on 2 floors with arcades and corridors facing courtyards. The castle’s present look dates from the time of the Erdődy counts, who added the bastions and a moat.
It’s now the Civic Museum, which has collections of weapons, porcelain, furniture, handicrafts and a pharmacy from the 18th century. Remains of the wall and the Lisak tower, to the east of the castle, are the only evidence remaining of the ancient walls that existed at this site.
|Address||Strossmayerovo setaliste 7, Varazdin|
The Church of the Assumption became a cathedral in 1997. Both the church and the annexed monastery are from the fist half of the 17th century, built by Jesuits. Later, the Pauline order moved in. The cathedral’s tall façade is enlivened by pillars.
The interior is a triumph of Baroque. The main altar occupies the width of the central nave and has gilded columns, stuccoes and engravings. At the center of the altar is an Assumption of the Virgin, reminiscent of Titian’s work in Venice.
Evenings of Baroque music concerts are held here.
|Address||Pavlinska ulica 4, Varazdin|
Built at the end of the 18th century (the founders’ coat of arms is on the door), the palace has housed the well-organized Entomological Section of the Civic Museum (Entomološki odjel Gradskog muzeja) since 1954. The museum was founded thanks to the entomologist Franjo Košcec (1882-1968), who, in 1959, donated his natural history collection to the city.
From 1962 to 1980 his work was carried on by his daughter Ruzica, a biologist. As well as thousands of insects, the museum also has a herbarium. From time to time, temporary exhibitions on a variety of themes are organized.
|Address||Franjevački trg 10, Varazdin|
This square is the heart of the town. Facing the square is the Town Hall (Gradska vijecnica), one of the oldest buildings in Varazdin. Built in the Gothic style in the 15th century, it has since been altered and a clock tower added.
It has been the Town Hall since 1523, when Prince George of Brandenburg gave it to the city. It’s guarded in summer by the Purgers, who wear decorated blue uniforms and bearskin hats.
To the east of the square stands Draškovic Palace, built in the late 17th century with a Rococo façade. The Croat Parliament met here in 1756 – 1776. Opposite stands the Renaissance Ritz House, one of the oldest in town.