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 the Cathedral was completed in the 18th century.
The Cathedral’s facade is carved into the form of a triumphal arch with columns, gables and niches. In the central niche is a statue of Mary which was created in the 17th century. Below the niche is the Drašković Family coats of arms, who were the main donor of the Jesuit order and the Cathedral. The main altar is the largest in Varaždin, measuring 11m by 14m. In the manner of the baroque, the imitation marble columns that carry the entire altar are in fact wooden as well as the altar. At the top of the central altar is a scene of the Holy Trinity. Above the tabernacle is a relief depicting a representative image of the Last Supper by an unknown Baroque painter, with the theme of the Ascension of Mary.
The cathedral has six chapels; three on each side of the nave. The first chapel on the right hand side is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and is adorned with images and plastic that speak of the life and merits of this Saint. The second chapel has no altar, just images of the execution of a female saint and Ignatius of Loyola; the founder of the Jesuit order. The third chapel reveals good baroque paintings by an unknown painter, which shows Jesus – the ruler of the world – and image of the Assumption.
To the left side of the nave is the sanctuary of the first chapel dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola. The central image depicts Jesus appearing in a vision to Ignatius Loyola. To the side are sculptures of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian. On the second left is a picture of the Chapel of St. Francis of Serafin. The third chapel belonged to the Draškovic Family, and is separated by beautiful wrought iron railings. It houses a richly gilded baroque altar of the Holy Cross. This depicts the sacrifice on the cross and five sculptures; Veronica, Barbara, Mary, John and Mary Magdalene.
Built along with the Cathedral was the monastery. The use for the building itself changed frequently after the prohibition of the Jesuits and the abolition of Pauline monastery in Croatia. Today it houses the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. The frescoes and stucco work on the stairs that you can see from the street are the only features to survive along with the external structure.
The Jesuits completed the construction of the complex by building of the Gymnasium. It began as a wooden building until 1651, when the single-storey corner building was built. Today, the building is the office of the Bishop Ordinary.
The Jesuits founded the School upon their arrival in Varaždin, beginning work in 1636. The School is the third oldest in the country, built immediately after those in Rijeka and Zagreb. The School has over the centuries come to symbolize the city.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.