Varaždin’s feudal fortress, from ancient times known as the Old Town, is undoubtedly the most significant historical building in the city. Unlike the royal free city that grew next to and around it, the fort was the heart of the noble estate, which was separate in terms of ownership and law. Disputes of its inhabitants with the citizens of Varaždin were frequent.
The fort was built intermittently from the 14th to the 19th century, and its oldest part is the central tower adorned with Gothic benches and canopies, which is a rarity of this type of medieval plastic art in the north of Croatia.

The Old Town

WORKING HOURS

Tuesday – Friday 9:00 – 17:00

Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 – 13:00

Closed on Mondays and public holidays.

Long and difficult wars against the Ottomans prompted the rebuilding and extension of the fort into a Wasserburg, a castle surrounded by high earthen banks with bastions and two water-filled moats. The works were carried out by Italian builders from the vicinity of the town of Como, led by the main imperial builder of fortifications on the Slavonian border, Domenico del Lallio.

During its eventful past, the Old Town had changed hands many times – owned by numerous distinguished noble families such as the Counts of Celje, Ivan Ungnad, Juraj Brandenburg and the Croatian Ban Tomo Erdödy and his heirs. The fort became the property of the City in 1925, when the Old Town became the home of the newly established city museum.

The Old Town today houses the oldest, Cultural and Historical Department of the museum, whose collections are exhibited in stylish display rooms. The most valuable are the collections of guild objects, furniture, historical portraits, weapons, paintings, watches, porcelain and glass, along with many other items depicting the daily life of Varaždin nobility and rich citizens. The collections are on display in about 40 galleries for visitors to discover and explore. A special focus needs to be given to the collections of objects that once belonged to two well-known people from Varaždin – the politician and writer Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski and the linguist Vatroslav Jagić.

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WORKING HOURS

Tuesday – Friday 9:00 – 17:00

Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 – 13:00

Closed on Mondays and public holidays.

Long and difficult wars against the Ottomans prompted the rebuilding and extension of the fort into a Wasserburg, a castle surrounded by high earthen banks with bastions and two water-filled moats. The works were carried out by Italian builders from the vicinity of the town of Como, led by the main imperial builder of fortifications on the Slavonian border, Domenico del Lallio.

During its eventful past, the Old Town had changed hands many times – owned by numerous distinguished noble families such as the Counts of Celje, Ivan Ungnad, Juraj Brandenburg and the Croatian Ban Tomo Erdödy and his heirs. The fort became the property of the City in 1925, when the Old Town became the home of the newly established city museum.

The Old Town today houses the oldest, Cultural and Historical Department of the museum, whose collections are exhibited in stylish display rooms. The most valuable are the collections of guild objects, furniture, historical portraits, weapons, paintings, watches, porcelain and glass, along with many other items depicting the daily life of Varaždin nobility and rich citizens. The collections are on display in about 40 galleries for visitors to discover and explore. A special focus needs to be given to the collections of objects that once belonged to two well-known people from Varaždin – the politician and writer Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski and the linguist Vatroslav Jagić.

TOWER WITH A CHAIN BRIDGE

At the entrance to the park surrounding the Old Town (from the direction of the charmingly popular Miljenko Stančić Square) is the so-called Tower with a chain bridge, equally known as the “Watchtower”. It is actually a remnant of the former wider defence system that circled the feudal fortress itself. Built in the second half of the 16th century in Renaissance style to house soldiers, it was also the residence of the head of the fortress guard.


The only parts of the external fortifications of the Old Town still standing are the tower and the drawbridge. This once separated the fortress from the royal free city of Varaždin, while today in contrast, it connects them as one of the city’s favourite attractions. On the ground floor of the tower there is a small and intimate, yet very active gallery of the Croatian Association of Artists, while its first floor houses the administration of the City Museum.

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