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Nicknames like “Little Rome” or “Little Vienna” (because of the many steeple towers and because of the way of life of the nobility from bygone times) may be exaggerated, but they exist and every resident of the city knows them.
We start the tour in front of the fortress Stari grad Varaždin, where our tour guide is waiting for us, who will take us to the cultural and historical sights of this city.
The fortress “Stari grad” (old town) is the most important and most magnificent historical building in the town of Varaždin. It was the seat of feudal administration, ownership and political separation from the royal and free city of Varaždin. The fortress was the royal property and the property of numerous feudal families who resided permanently or occasionally in it; Counts of Celje, Vitovac, Corvinus, Brandenburg and Ungnad.
We continue to the Ursuline Monastery and the Church of the Nativity of Jesus. The Ursuline Sisters came in 1703 at the invitation of Countess Magdalena Drašković. The Ursulines built an attractive church in 1707
with the most beautiful tower in Varaždin and soon opened the first girls’ school.
We pass the Herzer Palace (where it is part of the museum exhibition of the city of Varaždin) and come to the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Franciscan monastery. During the reign of Bela IV. In the 13th century, the Franciscans took possession of the Church of St. John and the land. They built a humble monastery which they expanded over time.
There is a statue of Gregory of Nin in front of the church. The first of three statues of Gregory of Nin, made by Ivan Meštvoić.
On the other side of the street we see the county palace, which was built in 1770 according to the project of the builder Jakov Erber and which Empress Maria Theresa had built for the needs of the county. On the gable of the building there is a coat of arms, which was designated by Maria Theresa in 1763 as the coat of arms of the Varaždin County.
We walk a few steps down the same street and on the left we have King Tomilsav Square and a view of the City Hall. The town hall of Varaždin is one of the most famous landmarks of the city of Varaždin. Although it has changed its exterior and interior several times throughout history, it is one of the longest-lived town halls in Europe.
On the right edge of the square is the Drašković Palace. The present shape was created in the second half of the 18th century. There is a gold-plated coat of arms of the Drašković family on the stone portal.
Only a few steps further we reach the Varaždin Cathedral. The facade of the church is in the form of a triumphal arch with columns, gables and niches. A statue of the Virgin Mary was created in the central niche in the 17th century. Under the niche is the coat of arms of the Drašković family, the main founder of the Jesuit order and the church. The main altar is the largest in Varaždin and measures 11 x 14 m.
Lunch in one of the many restaurants. Hotel accommodation, free time, overnight dinner.
Breakfast and check-out from the rooms.
We take a tour of the Varaždin cemetery. In contrast to others, the Varaždin cemetery, created by the visionary soul of Herman Haller, is not only a resting place for the dead, but also an outstanding example of park architecture and a natural monument.
Varaždin Cemetery has been known as a specially designed park for over a hundred years. Today it is an extraordinary combination of horticulture (classical park) and art monuments (works by Augustinčić, Frangeš and Vojković), which is why it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Herman Haller finds himself in the gardens and parks of Austrian and German cities, which are then arranged according to the Versailles garden architecture, the French style.
Free time for lunch
If you want to listen to the cathedral organ in the Church of the Assumption of Mary, visit one of the Sunday masses (Sundays and public holidays: 7.30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m. in winter (7 p.m. in summer)).
We were deeply impressed by this “little Rome”, this baroque wealth of Varaždin. We take all the beauties and newly gained impressions with us.