We have already mentioned that you should take one of the trips outside of Zagreb, but in case you don’t know where to go – we present you Varazdin and its street festival known as Spancirfest. It had began as a festival of street entertainers that eventually grew into much more. So until the end of the month, you can attend a multitude of high-quality concerts, performances, taste local delicacies, buy souvenirs, explore the capital of Medimurje.
A small university town will offer much more than just fun to its visitors: all concerts are organised in the old town and the fortress, so apart from enjoying the music you can explore the rich Croatian history, visit the Museum of Angels, buy fabulous Vindija’s dairy products or just taste bananas dipped in chocolate, and many different kinds of beer and wine. It is up to you!
About the city
Varazdin is only an hour’s drive from Zagreb. It is a city in Northern Croatia, 81 km north of Zagreb. The centre of Varazdin County is located near the Drava river; it is mainly known for its baroque buildings, music, textile, food and IT industry. The first written reference to Varazdin, whose historical name is Garestin, was on 20 August 1181 when King Béla III mentioned the nearby thermal springs (Varazdinske Toplice) in a legal document.
The city represents the best preserved and richest urban complex in continental Croatia. The Old Town (fortress) is an example of medieval defensive buildings. Construction began in the 14th century, and in the following century the rounded towers, typical of Gothic architecture in Croatia, were added. Today it houses the Town Museum. The Old and Contemporary Masters Gallery is located in the Sermage Palace, built in the rococo style in 1750.
In 1523, Margrave Georg of Brandenburg built the town hall in late baroque style, with the Varazdin coat of arms at the foot of the tower, and it has continued in its function until the present day. There is a guard-changing ceremony every Saturday. Varazdin’s Cathedral, a former Jesuit church, was built in 1647, and is distinguished by its baroque entrance, eighteenth-century altar, and paintings.
There are many baroque and rococo palaces and houses in the town. Worth particular mention is Varazdin’s Croatian National Theatre, built in 1873 and designed by the famous Viennese architects Herman Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner.
The city features its old city guard, named Purgari, in various city ceremonies as well as the weekly ceremony of the ‘change of the guards’ in front of the city hall. The Old Town keep is one of the biggest monuments in the city of Varazdin and one of its biggest tourist attractions. It is located in the north-western section of the city core. The Old Town was featured on the now defunct 5 Kuna bill. Interestingly, on the bill the picture of the keep is a mirror image of the actual appearance of the keep.