Varazdin - Croatia

Varaždin is a city in the north of Croatia, 81km (50 miles) north of Zagreb. The Old Town fortress, depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 5 kuna banknote, is an example of medieval defensive buildings begun in the 14th century with rounded towers, typical of Gothic architecture in Croatia, added in the 15th century. Today it houses the Town Museum. There are many baroque and rococo palaces and houses in the town in particular the Croatian National Theatre, built in 1873. The town hall, built in late baroque style in 1523, has the Varaždin coat of arms at the foot of the tower. Varaždin's Cathedral, a former Jesuit church, was built in 1647, and is distinguished by its baroque entrance, eighteenth-century altar, and paintings. Varaždin was declared a free royal borough in 1209 by the Hungarian King Andrew II and became the economic and military centre of northern Croatia. Over the following centuries Varaždin had several owners, the most influential being Beatrice Frankopan, Margrave Georg of Brandenburg, who built the town hall. In 1756, Varaždin became the capital of all of Croatia but the fire of 1776 destroyed most of the town and the capital moved back to Zagreb.