Coat of Arms
The City coat of arms is one of the oldest in Europe. In 1464, King Matthias Corvinus issued a charter which praised the loyalty of the inhabitants of Varaždin, officially establishing the traditional coat of arms which had been in use for centuries. The city was also permitted to make a seal bearing the coat of arms, in silver or any other metal. The coat of arms remained unchanged until 1934. After World War II, the angel ‘disappeared’, and miraculously ‘reappeared’ in 1990. There is an undetermined tower on the coat of arms, which could be the Old Town or any other tower of the city. There are 4 red and 3 white fesses which alternate behind the emblem on the coat of arms, representing the colours of the original Varaždin flag. The coat of arms can be seen on the City Hall, on churches, altars, … and is one of the City’s symbols.
Varaždin is known as the Baroque capital of Croatia. However, this reputation may be unfounded as the Old Town tower is gothic, as well as fragments on St. Nicholas Church, while the Old Town Gallery, the Mrazović and Drašković Palaces have renaissance arches, and the Patačić Palace is rococo. There are many classicist buildings alongside modern ones. All of these give Varaždin its unique image as a harmonious melting pot of all styles, which grow on its medieval foundations. The Baroque style that dominates the town is a consequence of the great fire in the late 18th century, when out of the ashes, contemporaries built a modern late Baroque city.
The beginnings of the textile industry go back to 1901, when the first textile factory was built on a large plot of land to the south of the city. In 1918, this became the Varaždin Textile Factory or ‘Tivar’. After eighty years of production, Tivar (whose name changed to Varteks in 1948) became the largest textile producer in Croatia. Today, despite the transition to a market economy and the harsh economic climate, the factory still employs 3,000 workers. To the people of Varaždin Varteks is not only a factory; it’s a sporting (many sports clubs bear the same name, of which the most famous is the premier league soccer club) and cultural symbol (the ‘Varteks’ Cultural and Artistic Society enabled many to travel the world). The ‘Varteks’ factory buildings exemplify the industrialization of Varaždin during the early 20th century. Contemporary construction design and materials included: decorative brickwork, glass, steel and concrete. The most attractive building stretches alongside a fence which surrounds the complex, incorporating a 78m high chimney, which dominates the skyline and symbolizes the industry of the city.
The primary means of transportation for the people of Varaždin. Because of this the city authorities struggle to find an integrated public transport scheme. The number of bicycles is unknown, but estimates place it about 22,000 or one bicycle per 2.3 people. You might be surprised to see whole families on bicycles in mid winter, as the cycling season never ends in Varaždin.
Flowers and Parklands
From April to October, thanks to the tradition and the efforts made by the Varaždin Tourist Board, the city becomes a blossoming bouquet. Flowers cascade endlessly from balconies and windows. Every year since 2001, the city has received awards as the best kept city of Inland Croatia. Numerous flower borders, promenades, parks, flower beds and flower sculptures give the city a special appearance and have come to symbolize the high quality of life in Varaždin and its environs.