In the history of Varaždin the most significant mark on an architectural, cultural and social level was made by its craftsmen. The holders of Free Royal City privileges and the City government in general promoted the free exchange of ideas. On the other hand craftsmen were associated professionally, according to their trades, to associations called guilds. Strict guild rules ensured stability of the entire system and liabilities and business opportunities were known in advance.
Above the entrance of each guild it was compulsory to hang a sign denoting its trade (a ‘cimer’): a kind of an advertising placard or figure which denoted the craft or represented a distinctive symbol of the trade.
Guild signs were, and still are, a key part of Varaždin’s identity.
In recent years four replicas of guild signs have been set up in the historic City core and the originals can be seen in the City Museum:
The ‘Iron Man’ – for ironmongery, on King Tomislav Square (Trg kralja Tomislava),
The ‘Siren’ – for overseas importers, on King Tomislav Square (Trg kralja Tomislava),
The ‘Turtle’ – for grocers, on Ivan Gundulić Street (Ulica Ivana Gundulića) and
The ‘Horseshoe’ – for the blacksmith’s guild, on Ivan Padovec Street (Ulica Ivana Padovca).