Saturday, March 29, 2014

Varazdin – Croatian’s Little Vienna

Varazdin
Varazdin is situated on the right bank of the River Drava in north western Croatia, 79 km north of Zagreb. Varazdin known as `Little Vienna’, among Croatians is one of the most important tourist centers of northern Croatia. Varazdin is one of the most attractive destinations to live or visit in Croatia and besides being a tourist centre is also a cultural, educational, economical as well as a sporting centre of North western Croatia.

 It owes its Baroque bonanza to its position as Croatia’s capital from 1756 to 1776 and though its reign was short due to the fire that broke out in 1776 destroying much of the town, the capital was moved to Zagreb. In the span of those two decades, some of the country’s best architect and painter were brought by religious order, wealthy tradesmen and wealthy families to construct mansions and palaces. Varazdin is one of the country’s most picturesque and well preserved country and one hour north of Zagreb lies a small metropolis of 50,000 and has awesome cobblestoned town center stocked with Baroque churches and palaces.

Town Easy to Access due to Geographic Location

The old town fortification, numerous museums, the central part of the town, galleries and collections together with the Varazdin cemetery which is protected as a horticultural monument are the main tourist attraction of this Central European Baroque town and ancient Croatian capital. Due to its advantageous geographic location the town is very easy to access through many neighboring countries.

Buses are frequent from Zagreb which takes around ninety minutes, tourist could also check for updates at Zagreb’s Bus Station’s website. The most cheapest and scenic mode of transport to Varazdin from Zagreb is the local train which stops at all station between the two cities. Recent speed of the train has improved with the addition of a faster alternative of the high speed tilting train connection which is operated by Hrvatske zeljeznice, a Croatian railway.

Interesting Old City and Town Museum

Some of the interesting places to explore is Stari grad (Old city) which is a beautiful medieval fortress. Its construction began in the 14th century and expanded in the 15th century when the rounded towers typifying the Gothic architecture of northern Croatia were added by the Earl of Celje.

And toward 1925, it was changed into Gradshi Muzej, Town museum which contains paintings, weapons, furniture and decorative objects of the Varazdin history. It was the first Croatian museum nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 1994. The Galerija starih i novih majstora – Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters is in the rococo style Sermage Palace which was built in 1759 and in 1947, was donated to the museum by the City of Cakovec.

The gallery holds over 3,000 pieces and the most valuable pieces are those by Dutch masters from the 17th and 18 centuries together with the portraits of both local and naturalized masters. Entomoloska zbirka, Entomological Collection, is placed at the early Classicist Herzer Palace in the center of the town where the first collection was established by Franjo pl. Kosces, who was the local high school teacher and entomologist.

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