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The City of Bell Towers

The Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is the central part of the Jesuit complex containing the school, the monastery and the church. The complex was built in the 17th century, designed by architect Juraj Matoti – under construction for thirteen years and finally completed in 1656.

Its distinctive bell tower was finished twenty years later. The church was given its final appearance in the 18th century. After the Jesuits, the church was taken over by the Paulines, and then by the Čazma Kaptol. In 1997 it became the Cathedral of the newly founded Varaždin diocese. In addition to its airiness, warmth and beauty, the Cathedral has excellent acoustics, so traditionally it became the main festival stage of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings.

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St. Nicholas’s Parish Church

This baroque parish church was built on the foundations of a Romanic-gothic church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Varaždin. Its unique gothic tower, very non-typical for continental Croatia contains Varaždin’s coat of arms from 1464. Right above it you can spot the remains of the old church with a very interesting detail – a stone bear. There used to be a railing at the top of the tower where a fire watch was organized. The tree-line surrounding the church represents an old cemetery, where people form Varaždin were buried until the end of the 18th century.

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The Capuchin Church and Monastery

On a spacious square of the same name you can discover the Capuchin Church and Monastery. The construction of the Church began in 1701 and was completed and dedicated to the Holy Trinity in 1705. The Capuchin Church and Monastery were built in a stern and simple style, typical for Capuchin monasteries. A small wooden turret has also been preserved until present day. Interestingly enough, the Franciscans who lived of alms collected during the harvest, found the arrival of the Capuchins troubling, as they feared it would reduce their revenues. Therefore, the Franciscans had the Pope prohibit the Capuchins from entering the City. After numerous protests throughout the Kingdom, and the resolution of the Croatian Parliament, the Capuchins were given permission to open a monastery in Varaždin.

Ursuline monastery and Church of the Birth of Jesus

Following the Capuchins, Varaždin welcomed the fourth monastic order: the Ursulines. The Ursulines came with the support and invitation of Countess Magdalena Drašković in 1703. The Countess’s daughter was in an Ursuline Convent in Požun (modern day Bratislava), where Protestant-Catholic wars raged at the time and so fearing for the fate of her daughter, the Countess invited the Ursulines to Varaždin. In 1707, the Ursulines built the harmonious Church, and soon they opened the first all-girls school. The Ursuline Church tower, one of several that adorn the Varaždin skyline, was built in 1726 – considered the most beautiful in the city.

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The Franciscan Church and Monastery

The Franciscans are mentioned in Varaždin as early as the 12th century. In the 17th and the 18th century, during the Counter-Reformation and later the Enlightenment, monumental religious architecture flourished in northwestern Croatia. The Franciscan Church was built in 1657, on the site of an earlier wooden church and hospice, boasting features of early Baroque architecture and similar in layout to the Franciscan Church in Vienna.

The Church Tower, proudly standing at 54.5 metres, is the tallest in the city and dominates the narrowest city centre with its monumentality and its powerful bell.


The interior of the church is extremely valuable. The pulpit, a masterpiece of Mannerism, with rich ornamentation is a special treat. It was built in the second half of the 17th century, probably directly after the fire of 1665, which significantly damaged the church. Beside the monastery there is a building whose ground floor was home to a former Franciscan apothecary, and whose vaults were painted by the famous Croatian Baroque painter Ivan Ranger.


On the square in front of the Church there is a bronze statue of Gregory of Nin. The statue is the work of a famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The place for the statue was chosen by the sculptor himself, and Gregory was erected in 1932. The statue was actually made for the city of Split, but its dimensions were too small. Fortunately, the statue fitted here perfectly, although at the time of Bishop Gregory of Nin, Varaždin probably did not exist.
On the southern wall of the church there is a sun dial that shows the correct time on a sunny day.

St. Florian’s Church

In 1669, due to numerous fires, the votive Church of St. Florian, the patron saint protector of fire, was built outside the city walls. It was destroyed in the great fire of 1776, refurbished in its current rococo style in 1777, which is characterized by an extremely harmonious facade. Next to the Church the Varaždin’s Xenodochia (city orphanage) was erected.

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St. Roch’s Chapel

At the southern entrance to the city, opposite the ‘Varteks’ Stadium, notice the Chapel of St. Roch. When the plague appeared in Hungary in 1712, locals vowed to build a chapel dedicated to St. Roch, if he assured God to protect them. When Varaždin was spared, the locals honoured their side of the agreement and built the chapel in 1715, dedicated to St. Roch.

St. Vitus’ Church

The Church of St. Vitus is postioned next to the Capuchin monastery. It is one of the oldest churches in the city and allegedly existed back in the 13th century as the parish church. The church was given its present appearance in 1779, as the previous church was destroyed by fire and equally there was once a cemetery around the Church and its crypt. The last burial service was performed in 1839 but the question is, do the neighbours know they live in a former cemetery?

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The Chapel of St. Fabian and Sebastian

The Chapel of St. Fabian and Sebastian is located on the western entrance to the city. The plague heavily struck the surrounding area in 1682 and brought terrible fear. The City Elders made a decision to build a chapel to St. Fabian and Sebastian if the fever failed to reach the city. As the story unfolded, Varaždin and its people were spared, so they built the Chapel in 1688, forming its present appearance in 1800.

The Orthodox Church

In 1184, in just three months, by the initiative of Mayor Utješinović and County Governor Vrabčević, and with voluntary contributions made by Bishop Strossmayer, Metel Ožegović, Varaždin Catholics and prominent Croats, the Orthodox Church saw the light of the day. It was designed in a historicist style and furnished with valuable inventory transferred from Zagreb’s Orthodox community.

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The Church of the Good Shepherd

The newest church in Varaždin was consecrated in 2007, decorated with monumental statues – the work of the Varaždin sculptor Nikola Šanjek. All the statues were made from recovered stone, the so-called vincit. The stone was taken from the vicinity of Varaždin to remain in the same climate and so maintains its quality. You can find an enormous 7.15 metre tall statue of the Good Shepherd located in the sanctuary behind the altar. Together with its stand it measures 9.15 metres and weighs about 30 tons. Interestingly, the interior of the church represents a man’s life path.

The Church of St. Joseph

Consecrated in 1995, The Church of St. Joseph was the first church built in Varaždin after nearly 200 years in the new suburb of Banfica. Shaped like a round hall, it contains the altar on the eastern side which faces the congregation, the tabernacle and the altar relief on the wall. To the left in front of the altar is a font, and to the right is the ambo for recitals. There is a raised platform for the choir further right. The Vicarage is situated east of the Church, and a pastoral centre is being built west of the church.

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The Cathedral’s facade is indented in the shape of a triumphal arch with columns, a gable and niches and the coat of arms of the Drašković family, which was one of the main benefactors. The main altar is also the largest in Varaždin with Baroque features. The pillars supporting the altar are also made of wood but painted to imitate marble.


There was also a monastery built next to the Cathedral. Shortly after its construction, due to historical turmoil, it lost its religious function and frequently changed its purpose. Today, it is the home of the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. Apart from the building, the only elements preserved were the frescoes and the stucco work on the staircase, which can be seen from the street.


The Jesuits completed their complex with the grammar school which was opened in 1636. It is the third oldest grammar school in Croatia, after the those in Zagreb and Rijeka. Today it houses the office of the Bishop Ordinariate.

St. Nicholas’s Parish Church

This baroque parish church was built on the foundations of a Romanic-gothic church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Varaždin. Its unique gothic tower, very non-typical for continental Croatia contains Varaždin’s coat of arms from 1464. Right above it you can spot the remains of the old church with a very interesting detail – a stone bear. There used to be a railing at the top of the tower where a fire watch was organized. The tree-line surrounding the church represents an old cemetery, where people form Varaždin were buried until the end of the 18th century.

Previous
Next
Previous
Next
The Capuchin Church and Monastery

On a spacious square of the same name you can discover the Capuchin Church and Monastery. The construction of the Church began in 1701 and was completed and dedicated to the Holy Trinity in 1705. The Capuchin Church and Monastery were built in a stern and simple style, typical for Capuchin monasteries. A small wooden turret has also been preserved until present day. Interestingly enough, the Franciscans who lived of alms collected during the harvest, found the arrival of the Capuchins troubling, as they feared it would reduce their revenues. Therefore, the Franciscans had the Pope prohibit the Capuchins from entering the City. After numerous protests throughout the Kingdom, and the resolution of the Croatian Parliament, the Capuchins were given permission to open a monastery in Varaždin.

Ursuline monastery and Church of the Birth of Jesus

Following the Capuchins, Varaždin welcomed the fourth monastic order: the Ursulines. The Ursulines came with the support and invitation of Countess Magdalena Drašković in 1703. The Countess’s daughter was in an Ursuline Convent in Požun (modern day Bratislava), where Protestant-Catholic wars raged at the time and so fearing for the fate of her daughter, the Countess invited the Ursulines to Varaždin. In 1707, the Ursulines built the harmonious Church, and soon they opened the first all-girls school. The Ursuline Church tower, one of several that adorn the Varaždin skyline, was built in 1726 – considered the most beautiful in the city.

Previous
Next
Previous
Next
The Franciscan Church and Monastery

The Franciscans are mentioned in Varaždin as early as the 12th century. In the 17th and the 18th century, during the Counter-Reformation and later the Enlightenment, monumental religious architecture flourished in northwestern Croatia. The Franciscan Church was built in 1657, on the site of an earlier wooden church and hospice, boasting features of early Baroque architecture and similar in layout to the Franciscan Church in Vienna.

The Church Tower, proudly standing at 54.5 metres, is the tallest in the city and dominates the narrowest city centre with its monumentality and its powerful bell.
The interior of the church is extremely valuable. The pulpit, a masterpiece of Mannerism, with rich ornamentation is a special treat. It was built in the second half of the 17th century, probably directly after the fire of 1665, which significantly damaged the church. Beside the monastery there is a building whose ground floor was home to a former Franciscan apothecary, and whose vaults were painted by the famous Croatian Baroque painter Ivan Ranger.
On the square in front of the Church there is a bronze statue of Gregory of Nin. The statue is the work of a famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The place for the statue was chosen by the sculptor himself, and Gregory was erected in 1932. The statue was actually made for the city of Split, but its dimensions were too small. Fortunately, the statue fitted here perfectly, although at the time of Bishop Gregory of Nin, Varaždin probably did not exist.
On the southern wall of the church there is a sun dial that shows the correct time on a sunny day.

St. Florian’s Church

In 1669, due to numerous fires, the votive Church of St. Florian, the patron saint protector of fire, was built outside the city walls. It was destroyed in the great fire of 1776, refurbished in its current rococo style in 1777, which is characterized by an extremely harmonious facade. Next to the Church the Varaždin’s Xenodochia (city orphanage) was erected.

Previous
Next
St. Roch’s Chapel

At the southern entrance to the city, opposite the ‘Varteks’ Stadium, notice the Chapel of St. Roch. When the plague appeared in Hungary in 1712, locals vowed to build a chapel dedicated to St. Roch, if he assured God to protect them. When Varaždin was spared, the locals honoured their side of the agreement and built the chapel in 1715, dedicated to St. Roch.

St. Vitus’ Church

The Church of St. Vitus is postioned next to the Capuchin monastery. It is one of the oldest churches in the city and allegedly existed back in the 13th century as the parish church. The church was given its present appearance in 1779, as the previous church was destroyed by fire and equally there was once a cemetery around the Church and its crypt. The last burial service was performed in 1839 but the question is, do the neighbours know they live in a former cemetery?

Previous
Next
The Chapel of St. Fabian and Sebastian

The Chapel of St. Fabian and Sebastian is located on the western entrance to the city. The plague heavily struck the surrounding area in 1682 and brought terrible fear. The City Elders made a decision to build a chapel to St. Fabian and Sebastian if the fever failed to reach the city. As the story unfolded, Varaždin and its people were spared, so they built the Chapel in 1688, forming its present appearance in 1800.

The Orthodox Church

In 1184, in just three months, by the initiative of Mayor Utješinović and County Governor Vrabčević, and with voluntary contributions made by Bishop Strossmayer, Metel Ožegović, Varaždin Catholics and prominent Croats, the Orthodox Church saw the light of the day. It was designed in a historicist style and furnished with valuable inventory transferred from Zagreb’s Orthodox community.

Previous
Next
The Church of the Good Shepherd

The newest church in Varaždin was consecrated in 2007, decorated with monumental statues – the work of the Varaždin sculptor Nikola Šanjek. All the statues were made from recovered stone, the so-called vincit. The stone was taken from the vicinity of Varaždin to remain in the same climate and so maintains its quality. You can find an enormous 7.15 metre tall statue of the Good Shepherd located in the sanctuary behind the altar. Together with its stand it measures 9.15 metres and weighs about 30 tons. Interestingly, the interior of the church represents a man’s life path.

The Church of St. Joseph

Consecrated in 1995, The Church of St. Joseph was the first church built in Varaždin after nearly 200 years in the new suburb of Banfica. Shaped like a round hall, it contains the altar on the eastern side which faces the congregation, the tabernacle and the altar relief on the wall. To the left in front of the altar is a font, and to the right is the ambo for recitals. There is a raised platform for the choir further right. The Vicarage is situated east of the Church, and a pastoral centre is being built west of the church.

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