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Kazimir Drašković was once a descendant of a rich and powerful Croatian aristocratic family. While visiting his estates in southern Hungary he was hit by cupid’s arrow, falling desperately in love with Suzana Malatinsky. As someone who was already a married woman, a commoner, yet also a Protestant – at the time this caused a serious problem.
However, as their love for each other grew stronger, nothing could prevent them from being together – and so Mrs. Malatinsky became Countess Drašković. Kazimir, as a rich general, managed to buy the divorce from Suzana’s husband. Their marriage, as well as other circumstances, shocked the noble Drašković family as it did the Viennese court who equally resented the situation. Count and Countess Drašković decided moved to Varaždin, enjoying all the comforts of aristocratic life. They lived in the Drašković Palace on today’s Korzo, which was famous for lavish parties and flamboyant masquerade balls. This all came at a price. Over time, this extravagant lifestyle stripped Kazimir of all his money, passing away at the age of 49 laden in debt.
As Varaždin was the capital at the time and the palace was occupied by the Government and the Ban, the powerful Count, Ban Franjo Nadasdy, also resided in the palace. Similar to Kazimir, Ban Nadasdy also had his eye on Countess Drašković so she soon became Countess Nadasdy – and you could imagine her parties became even merrier, louder and more luxurious.
One of the saddest Varaždin love stories was told by Ksaver Šandor Gjalski. It begins during Napoleon’s wars, when the French occupied more than half of today’s Croatian territory. At that time, a young lieutenant Milić, a royal officer from Lika, served in the Varaždin-Križevci Border Regiment. At the same time, the Pokupić family from the vicinity of Karlovac found their refuge from Napoleon’s army in the Old Town in Varaždin. Pokupići had a daughter Anastazija – Stazica, born on 29 September 1799, who loved to walk through the bašča (garden) a term given to how people of Varaždin called the trenches of the Old Town. Naturally, with two young people in a small town – it did not take long for the handsome Milić to catch sight of the beautiful Stazica. The love affair began and blossomed until the young deeply-in-love couple set their wedding date for 29 September – Stazica’s birthday.
As Napoleon’s troops started to retreat, Stazica’s father had the urge to return to his grandfathers’ estate in Pokuplje. The Austrian generals had rather different plans – they annexed the Pokupić estate to the Karlovac Generalate. The elderly Pokupić deeply could not accept the decision and so he started to show his outrage against the German administration. Charged with high treason, he was executed before Stazica’s eyes on the very day of the wedding – 29 September.
The wedding was cancelled and soon after, Stazica fell seriously ill. Lieutenant Milić was a desperate man, still hoping to marry Stazica on 29 September the following year. Stazica grew weaker and weaker, and inevitably barely made it to her 20th birthday. On her deathbed she expressed her eternal love for Milić and died in his arms on 29 September. He lived in the house by the graveyard and into retirement he spent the rest of his long life in solitude. During his daily walks from the graveyard to the bašča, he seemed to be always in search of Stazica. Allegedly, on the last day of his life, he saw Stazica greeting him from the walls of the Old Fort.
He died on 29 September.
Haunted monument to Vatroslav Jagić
Nothing but misfortune has accompanied the monument to Vatroslav Jagić since the very beginning. Honouring one hundred years past Jagić’s birthday, the people of Varaždin decided to commission the making of a monument dedicated to Jagić. Troubles ensued almost immediately. The price was higher than they had planned, the deadlines were overstepped, and when the monument was finally finished, it tumbled to the ground due to its weight – ruining one apartment in Ilica Street in Zagreb.
Fortunately, the monument was free from damage. However, during the transportation to Varaždin the workers did actually damage the monument. In a dishonest attempt to conceal their mistake, they tried to repair it themselves, without caring too much about aesthetics or the laws of nature.
For that reason, you can notice the left leg of the monument is slighter shorter and stretches in an unnatural way: both legs are stretched, the right in front of the left. After all these challenges, the monument was positioned in its place at the entrance to the city park. It was only then people noticed the female coat, with buttons on the left side.
The Pinta wine drinking association, founded in 1696 by Count Baltazar Patačić, certainly stands out for its originality in the social history of Varaždin as Pinta gathered “wine doctors” around big feasts. To become a “wine doctor” one had to follow strict defined rules, which meant drinking copious amounts of wine.
Feasts and consuming large quantities of wine lead to dissoluteness, which naturally the Varaždin clergy did not like at all. They often denounced their insobriety, but “doctors” seemed to always have a witty answer for them: “Who drinks well, sleeps well. Who sleeps well, does not make mistakes. Who does not make mistakes, goes to heaven. Therefore, who drinks well, goes to heaven.”
Among the “wine doctors” there were even women from the highest ranks of aristocracy. The great “Doctor” Patačić turned the spread of a good reputation about the art of wine drinking into one of his life goals. According to legend, he always carried on him the “wine doctors’” book of members and successfully managed to register as many as 173 “doctors” throughout Europe.
Legend has it that there was a bear den on the site of today’s Church of St. Nikola on Trg slobode (Freedom Square), in the immediate vicinity of the former southern Varaždin city gate.
According to this legend, when the first church was built on the site, a mother bear entered inside looking for her den and her cubs. When she realised her den and her cubs were nowhere to be seen, she was petrified with sadness. The builders felt sorry for her and built her into the wall as an everlasting memory of her eternal sadness. You might want to check the tower of the Church of St. Nicholas – as you may find the stone mother bear yourself.