Trip to Varaždin: Once the capital of the Croats, which is still called Little Vienna

From its inception, development in the Middle Ages until today, Varaždin has always been a city that its inhabitants loved and its guests admired.

What distinguishes Varaždin from other cities is its exceptional monumental and artistic heritage with the best preserved and richest Baroque urban ensemble. Varaždin feudal fortress, called since ancient times Historic center, is the most significant historical building in Varaždin. It was the center of a noble estate, owned and legally separated from the royal and free city of Varaždin. Today's fort was built from the 14th to the 19th century, and the oldest part of it is the central tower. The benches and canopies on its ground floor are the most beautiful examples of Gothic secular sculpture in the north of Croatia.

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A particularly interesting tower with a chain bridge is also known as 'Watchtower', it was built in the second half of the 16th century in the Renaissance style. As a remnant of the defense system, the feudal fort has managed to be fully preserved to this day. While in the function for which it was built, it served to accommodate soldiers and as the apartment of the captain of the fortress guard.


Along with the Old Town complex in a relatively small area, there are preserved palaces, significant public buildings, valuable houses and villas in the style of Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, Art Nouveau and one of the oldest European city halls. The town hall is adorned with a balcony above which is the stone coat of arms of the city of Varaždin. It was confirmed in 1464 by King Matthias Corvinus as the official coat of arms of the city and has remained unchanged since then. On the tower below the clock is a lunar change indicator.

The free and royal city of Varaždin had its ramparts and moats. Unlike the walls of the Old Town, the city walls were demolished for the most part in the early 19th century. The only remnants of the city fortifications are the northern or "Vienna" city gate built in the 16th century, better known today as Lisak's tower named after the merchant Lisak who owned the tower in the first half of the 20th century.

Lisak's Tower is located on Ban Jelačić Square or more popularly "Banus placu". It is interesting how it is from this place Ban Josip Jelačić set out with 50.000 soldiers in 1848 across the Drava to war with the Hungarians.


The most valuable Rococo palace in Varaždin, but also in Croatia, was built in 1764. It was not significantly damaged in a great fire in 1776, and during the 18th century it was the home of the Patačić family and the center of cultural and social life of the city. After the financial collapse of the Patačić family, the palace changed its purpose, and during a thorough renovation and reconstruction in the late 90s of the last century, wall paintings were found that once served as decoration. Today, they are partially preserved on the first and second floors, and show scenes from life from the end of the 18th century.

Above the stone portal is located "God's eye" , a symbol of the Counter-Reformation. The palace is adorned with a very beautiful bay window with a view of Gundulićeva Street, King Tomislav Square and Franciscan Square. In the part of the palace in Gundulićeva Street, better known among the people of Varaždin as Dućanska Street, it is located turtle roommate which once marked a grocery store, otherwise the original roommate is in the City Museum.


The richness of the sacral heritage will tell you another story about Varaždin as The town of the bell tower, but also to the people who built it for centuries, and the angels on the altars, walls and paintings will thank you for their kindness in every way.

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The Entomological Collection of the Varaždin City Museum is especially interesting, with as many as 4 various butterflies and other interesting insects.

Source and photo: Varaždin Tourist Board

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