Varaždin then and now
Urban development in the city of Varaždin lasts for centuries. Even today the three ancient roads are vivid on Varaždin ground. Their historic, Latin names show, that we are talking about Roman roads, which have connected Petrijanec (Aqua Viva), Varaždinske Toplice ( Aquae Iasae) and Ludbreg ( Iovija). In the early Middle Ages, in between these roads was a castrum. Alongside the castrum a settlement is developing and already in 1209 it receives the free royal city status.
The hospitallers Church of St. John the Baptist was built in the first half of the 13th century in the middle of the city.
In the 15th century Varaždin is already protected with palisades. Medieval Church of St. Nicholas is located on the city square. The suburbs are formed. In the south suburb the Church of St. Vitus is built. In the 16th century the urban development begins because of the risk of Turk attacks. The partition of feudal fortresses begins together with building of big terrene bulwarks with bastions and walls around the whole city. The former medieval fortress is transformed into a modern “Wasserburg”. The renovation was made by the Italian builders from around Coma, under the leadership of Domenico Del Aglia, the main Slavonia border architect. New constructions and buildings are adjusting to the medieval street raster inside the city walls. In the 16th century the Church of St. John the Baptist declines in importance and the area where the City Hall is build, gains in importance in 1523.
In the 17th century the significant building momentum is present inside the City walls and in settlements. The existing buildings are being renovated; new individual ones and whole sets of baroque ones. The most important actions in the field of architecture are renovations of the parish Church of St Nicholas and the Franciscan Church of St John the Baptist along with the new monastery. The Jesuit monastery and the monumental Church of St. Mary are the new architectural highlights in the 17th century. The Ursuline monastery, the Church of the Nativity, Capuchin monastery and Church of The Holy Trinity are built in the west suburb in the first half of the 18th century. The Church of St Florian is built outside the city walls. The Drašković palace and the Keglević palace are architecturally prominent in the city and in suburbs.
The big fire in 1776 had a great impact on the further building and architecture. Large area inside the settlement was destroyed. After the renovation of the existing buildings, after the big fire, Varaždin got the look which is nurtured even today. In 1807, along with the demolition of the city fortresses and filling up the ditches, the big urban change had begun. Significant historicist buildings are built; the monumental theater-building stands out, built in 1973. The main city square is changed because of the two large historicist buildings which have disrupted its former symmetrical look.
The renaissance guard house located near the feudal fortress Old Town is renovated based on the original form painted in the water color painting in the 18th century, by an unknown artist.
The royal, feudal fortress Old Town is the most important and most grandiose historical building in the City of Varaždin. It is the worldwide cultural heritage monument build in the period between 14th and 19th century. The renovation based on the original findings ended in 1989.