This enchanting baroque city will make you resent leaving. A small city in the northwestern Croatia breaths tradition, culture and past. It has a very good geographical position and as they say it ‘’holds the northwestern gate of Croatia’’.
This region was significant in all eras. Close to the city in the cave called Vindija the experts found the remains of the Neanderthal man ageing approximately 30 000 years. The city continued to be well known also in the Roman times. The city was first mentioned in the 12th century when the king Bela III gave the estates to his son Emerik to administer it and to later become a king. He had two sons, Emerik and Andrija, which later started a war close to Varaždin. To cut the story short Andrija after the death of Emerik’s son Ladislav became a king and to thank the people of Varaždin for their support he gave the royal rights and freedom to the city.
After that act the city has developed in a manner of a free royal city. It was soon to become one of the most populated cities in the Slavonija region. It has become also a trading spot because it was on a route from Hungary to the Adriatic. The prosperity was obvious until the attacks from the Otoman Empire started in this region. Even the great emperor Sulejman I. went through this area on his quest to siege Vienna. To protect the area the Vojna krajina was founded and Varaždin got its military function being the capital of Slavonska krajina.
In the 17th century a peace treaty was signed and by it all fortresses could be restored. The people of Varaždin used that fact and started to rebuild their city. In the 18th century the queen Marija Terezija tried to diminish the power of the noblemen in Croatia and formed Croatian Royal Council which was based in Varaždin. Varaždin was also a Croatian capital at that time. Unfortunately due to a big fire it lost that function. In that period many of the baroque palaces were built in the city making it the real baroque capital.
In the 19th century the city got connected to Zagreb with the railroad so the economic development and the growth of the region could continue.
In the 20th century it was of course affected by the World wars and also the Croatian Homeland war. It again had a very important function in Croatian liberation.
OUR TIP: Visit Varaždin in the time of Špancirfest, a famous festival with many street artists, events, local cuisine…