Aquae Iasae was the Roman settlement and Roman bath in the area of present city Varaždinske Toplice.
In the 3rd century BC, in this area lived the Illyrian tribe Jasi, whose name the Romans referred to later in calling this place Aquae Iasae, 'Waters of the Jasi'. The village Jasa, thanks to its springs of water, grew into a significant medical, ceremonial, cultural and economic center of Pannonia Superior.
But the biggest boom was seen under the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 4th centuries. The public part of the Roman settlement was located on the highest terrace of the hill Varaždin spa, today the park and archaeological site. The residential part of Aquae Iasae was on the terraces that descend to the foot of the hill in the foothills of the craft-established commercial and trade show facilities.
At the end of 3rd century AD Aquae Iasae were ravaged during the incursion of the Goths, then in the beginning of the 4th century the thermae were restored by Emperor Constantine. The resort was completely ruined and deserted in the 4th century during the invasions of the Migration period.
Intensive archaeological excavation and research have continued since 1953, under the Department of Ancient Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, led by professor Marcel Gorenc. Then in the spa park, discovered complex of Roman architecture from the 1st - 4th century CE, in area of 6000 m2.
This circuit consisted of spa parts, which make up the building with swimming pools and the basilica, the Forum with porches located around the main thermal sources, and Capitol with the temples of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The excavations at the site uncovered numerous remains: parts of swords, shields, knives, razors, imperial coins (which were thrown into the pool for good luck), lots of statues of nymphs (nymfus salutaris, the goddess of healing) and the well preserved marble pavement of the 2nd century.
The most valuable finding is the statue of the goddess Minerva with a pedestal, was found in 1967 at the entrance to the temple. Minerva wears a legionary helmet, wields a copper spear and shield, and instead of hair has snakes (the pharmacy). This statue was built in the 2nd century in Poetovio, and had him make a councilor as a votive gift of healing.
More recent research in the Forum has discovered the ancient spring-fed Roman pool. This pool has the dimensions of 8x13.5 meters and the depth is 2.6 meters. The natural source of the baths' thermal water, was fenced in by large stone blocks. So far, the only similar example of such a pool is known in the Roman settlement of Aquae Sulis (Bath) in England.
Specific conditions of soil around the springs of water, and travertine deposits, have given rise to good preservation of Roman architecture, so that this complex is one of the best preserved Roman sites in Croatia.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.