Top Historic Sights in Varaždin, Croatia

Explore the historic highlights of Varaždin

Varazdin Cathedral

Originally a Paulist Church, Varaždin church of Assumption of Mary into Heaven became a Cathedral of the newly established Diocese of Varaždin in 1997. The whole complex was built in the 17th century. The architect of the Church was George Matot, and was constructed between 1642 and 1656, when it was consecrated. A bell tower with a distinctive bulb was completed twenty years after the church. The current appearance of ...
Founded: 1642-1656 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

St. Nicholas Church

Built on the foundations of the previous Romanesque-Gothic church, Baroque St. Nicholas parish church was built in 1761 and dedicated to St. Nicholas; the patron Saint of the City of Varaždin. The unique Gothic tower is unusual for inland Croatia as it has the Varaždin coat-arms dating from 1464. Above this is a stone seal; an interesting detail and relic of the former church. Surrounding the tower was a parapet where w ...
Founded: 1761 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

Varazdin Castle

Varaždin medieval castle is the most important monument of the town. Its construction began back in the 14th century and lasted for over four centuries, as it was built and rebuilt several times in different architectural styles. Castle’s rounded towers and the moat filled with water were constructed in the 15th century. During the invasion of the Turks. in the late 16th century, high walls with bastions were built. Ov ...
Founded: 1454 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

Capuchin Monastery

Construction of the Capuchin Church began in 1701, completed in 1705 and dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. 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. The Franciscans, interestingly enough, who lived on alms that were collected during the harvest, found the arrival of the Capuchins troubling, because they were af ...
Founded: 1701 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.