City of towers

The Parish Church of St. Nicholas

Built on the foundations of the previous Romanesque-Gothic church, this Baroque Parish Church was built in 1761 and dedicated to St. Nicholas; the patron Saint of the City of Varaždin. The unique Gothic tower is unusual for inland Croatia as it has the Varaždin coat-arms dating from 1464. Above this is a stone seal; an interesting detail and relic of the former church. Surrounding the tower was a parapet where watchmen would guard against fire in the city. Line of trees surrounding the church marks the former local burial ground in which was in use up to the late XVIII Century. In the niche of the tower is a statue of St. Florian; an image often present throughout Varaždin.

Address: Trg slobode 1
Tel: +385- 42- 212- 412
Masses: weekdays: 8:30a.m. and 6:00pm. (Summer 7:00p.m.); Sundays and Holidays: 10:00a.m., 11:00a.m. and 6:00p.m. (Summer 7:00p.m.)


Originally a Paulist Church, it was taken over by the Čazma Kaptol (the seat of the church), and became a Cathedral of the newly established Diocese of Varaždin in 1997. The Church was dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is a central component of the Jesuit complex which consists of the High School, the Convent and Church. The whole complex was built in the 17th century. The architect of the Church was George Matot, and was constructed between 1642 and 1656, when it was consecrated. A bell tower with a distinctive bulb was completed twenty years after the church. The current appearance of the Cathedral was completed in the 18th century.

The Cathedral hosts a traditional festival of Baroque music, also known as the ‘Baroque evenings’.

The Cathedral’s facade is carved into the form of a triumphal arch with columns, gables and niches. In the central niche is a statue of Mary which was created in the 17th century. Below the niche is the Drašković Family coats of arms, who were the main donor of the Jesuit order and the Cathedral. The main altar is the largest in Varaždin, measuring 11m by 14m. In the manner of the baroque, the imitation marble columns that carry the entire altar are in fact wooden as well as the altar. At the top of the central altar is a scene of the Holy Trinity. Above the tabernacle is a relief depicting a representative image of the Last Supper by an unknown Baroque painter, with the theme of ‘the Ascension of Mary’.

The cathedral has six chapels; three on each side of the nave. The first chapel on the right hand side is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and is adorned with images and plastic that speak of the life and merits of this Saint. The second chapel has no altar, just images of the execution of a female saint and Ignatius of Loyola; the founder of the Jesuit order. The third chapel reveals good baroque paintings by an unknown painter, which shows Jesus – the ruler of the world – and image of the Assumption.

To the left side of the nave is the sanctuary of the first chapel dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola. The central image depicts Jesus appearing in a vision to Ignatius Loyola. To the side are sculptures of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian. On the second left is a picture of the Chapel of St. Francis of Serafin. The third chapel belonged to the Draškovic Family, and is separated by beautiful wrought iron railings. It houses a richly gilded baroque altar of the Holy Cross. This depicts the sacrifice on the cross and five sculptures; Veronica, Barbara, Mary, John and Mary Magdalene.

Built along with the Cathedral was the monastery. The use for the building itself changed frequently after the prohibition of the Jesuits and the abolition of Pauline monastery in Croatia. Today it houses the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. The frescoes and stucco work on the stairs that you can see from the street are the only features to survive along with the external structure.

The Jesuits completed the construction of the complex by building of the Gymnasium. It began as a wooden building until 1651, when the single-storey corner building was built. Today, the building is the office of the Bishop Ordinary.

The Jesuits founded the School upon their arrival in Varaždin, beginning work in 1636. The School is the third oldest in the country, built immediately after those in Rijeka and Zagreb. The School has over the centuries come to symbolize the city.

Address: Pavlinska 4

Tel: +385-42- 210-688

Masses: Weekdays: 7:30a.m. 9:00a.m. 6:00p.m. (Summer-7:00p.m.). Sundays and Holidays: 7:30a.m. 9:00a.m. 11:00a.m. (Summer-7:00p.m.).

Capuchin Monastery and Church

On a spacious, eponymously named square, is the Capuchin Church and Monastery. Construction of the Church began in 1701, completed in 1705 and dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. The Capuchin Church and Monastery were built in a stern and simple style, typical for Capuchin Monasteries. A small wooden turret has also been preserved. The Franciscans, interestingly enough, who lived on alms that were collected during the harvest, found the arrival of the Capuchins troubling, because they were afraid it would reduce their revenues. Therefore, the Franciscans had the Pope prohibit the Capuchins from entering the City. After numerous protests throughout the Kingdom, and a resolution of the Croatian Parliament, the Capuchins were given permission to open a monastery in Varaždin two years later.

Address: Kapucinski trg 7
Tel: +385 (0)42 213-550
Masses: Weekdays: 7:00a.m. 8:30a.m. 7:00p.m. Sundays and Holidays: 6:30a.m. 8:30a.m. 1:00a.m. 10:00a.m. 12:00p.m. 5:00p.m.

The Ursuline

Following the Capuchins Varaždin welcomed a fourth monastic order: the Ursuline. The Ursuline came at the invitation and with the help of the Countess Magdalena Drašković in 1703. The Countess’s daughter was in an Ursuline Convent in Požun (modern day Bratislava), and at the time there raged a Protestant-Catholic war. Fearing for the fate of her daughter, the Countess invited the Ursuline to Varaždin. In 1707, the Ursuline built the harmonious Church, and soon opened the first all girls school. The most beautiful tower in Varaždin, the Ursuline Church tower, was built in 1726. The Church is dedicated to the birth of Jesus.

Address: Uršulinska 3
Tel: +385 (0)42 211-808
Masses: Weekdays: 7:00a.m. Sundays and holidays: 8:00; Thursday: 7:30p.m. Adorations:
The 8th of every month: 6:00p.m.

The Church of St. Florian

By 1669, due to numerous fires, the votive church of St. Florian, the patron saint of fire, was built outside the city walls. The original was destroyed in the great fire of 1776, so it was refurbished in its current rococo style in 1777, which is characterized by an extremely harmonious façade. Next to the Church the Varaždin’s Xenodochia (city orphanage) was erected.

Address: Vladimira Nazora bb
Masses: Sundays and Holidays: 8:00a.m.

Franciscan Church and Monastery

Mention of the Franciscans in Varaždin date from the 12th century. During the Reformation and later the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th century, monumental religious architecture flourished in northwestern Croatia. It was at this time the Franciscan church was built. The construction started in 1650, and the church was consecrated in 1657, with all the features of early Baroque architecture; the layout of the church was similar to the Franciscan Church in Vienna built by Peter Rabba from Graz. The Church Tower, at 54.5metres, is the tallest in the city. Of special artistic merit is the pulpit, which is a masterpiece of Mannerism, with rich ornamentation and a row of sculptures representing the apostles and the Franciscans. The pulpit was built in the second half of the 17th century, probably in the aftermath of the fire which significantly damaged the church in 1665.

Beside the monastery is a building whose ground floor was home to a former Franciscan apothecary, and whose vaults were painted by the famous Croatian Baroque Painter; Ivan Pavlin Ranger.

The Franciscan monastery is built on the site of a former wooden church and hospice that was founded by the Knights Hospitallers (Order of St. John) during the Crusades. They fled before the Mongol onslaught on Varaždin and hid in the fortress of Bela. After the danger had passed they were superseded by the Franciscans in the 13th century.

On the square in front of the Church is a bronze statue of Gregory of Nin. The statue is the work of the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović, who chose to unveil the statue in Varaždin in 1932. The statue, initially made for the City of Split but considered too small, fits perfectly right here, although in the time of Bishop Gregory of Nin, Varaždin probably did not exist.

On the southern wall of the church is a sun dial that on sunny days shows the correct time. Everyone should take into account that during the summer months, our clocks move one hour forward.

Address: Franjevački trg 8
Tel: +385- 42- 213-166
Masses: Sundays and Holidays: 6:00a.m. 7:00a.m. 8:00a.m. 9:00a.m. 11:00a.m. and 6:30p.m. Weekdays: 7:00a.m. 8:00a.m. and 6:30p.m.

The first Friday and Saturday of the month: 7:00a.m. 8:00a.m. 9:00a.m. and 6:30 p.m.,
July and August: Sundays and holidays: 7:00a.m. 9:00a.m. 11:00a.m. and 6:30 pm

The Chapel of St. Roch

At the southern entrance to the city, opposite the ‘Varteks’ Stadium, is the Chapel of St. Roch. In 1712 when the plague appeared in neighboring Hungary, locals vowed to build a Chapel dedicated to St. Roch, if they obtained God’s protection from the plague through prayer to the saint. When Varaždin was spared, locals built the Chapel in 1715 and dedicated to St. Roch.

Address: Zagrebačka bb
Tel: +385- 42- 213- 550
Masses: Sunday- 7:00a.m.

Church of St. Vitus

Next to the Capuchin monastery is the Church of St. Vitus, which is one of the oldest in the city. The Parish Church here dates from the 13th century. Its current incarnation was built in 1779, as the previous church was destroyed by fire. Around the Church and its crypt is a cemetery. The last burial service was performed in 1839.

Address: Trg sv. Vida
Tel: +385- 42- 213- 550
Masses: Weekdays- 7:30a.m.

The Chapel of Fabian and Sebastian

On the western entrance to the town is the Chapel of Fabian and Sebastian. Plague struck the surrounding area in 1682; there was a dreadful fear it would spread to the city. The City Elders made a decision to erect a chapel to St. Fabian and Sebastian if the fever did not reach the city. Varaždin and its people were spared, and so to fulfill this vow, work began on the Chapel. The Chapel was built in 1688, and received its present look in 1800.

Address: Optujska bb
Tel: Rectory in 53 Vladimira Gortana Street +385- 42- 332-015
Masses: Weekdays- 6:00p.m. (Summer 7:00p.m.)

The Church of St. Joseph

The first church built in Varaždin in nearly 200 years is in the new suburb of Banfica. This modern church is in the shape of a round hall, on the eastern side of which is the altar table which faces the congregation, the tabernacle and the altar in relief on the wall. To the left in front of the altar is a font, and to the right is the ambo for recitals. To the extreme right is a raised platform for the choir. The Vicarage is situated to the east of the Church, and a pastoral centre will be built to the west of the church. The Church was consecrated in 1995.

Address: Dravska 3; Banfica- Varaždin
Tel: +385- 42- 230-742
Masses: Weekdays- 5:00p.m. (Summer 6:30p.m.); Sundays and Holidays: 8:00a.m. 10:30a.m. 5:00p.m. (Summer 6:30p.m.)

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Varaždin’s youngest Church was consecrated in 2007. It is best known for its monumental statues, which are the work of the Varaždin Sculptor Nicholas Šanjek. All statues are made of recovered stone. The stone was taken from the vicinity of Varaždin to remain in the same climate and thus maintain the quality. The statue of the Good Shepherd, which is 7.15 meters tall, is set in the sanctuary behind the altar, and with its stand it measures 9.15meters and weighs about 30 tons. The entire interior was conceived as a man’s life.

Address: Hallerova aleja bb
Tel: Rectory in 53 Vladimira Gortana Street : +385- 42- 332-015
Masses: Sunday: 8:00a.m. 10:00a.m. 6:00p.m. (Summer 7:00p.m.)

Orthodox Church

In just three months in 1884, on the initiative of Mayor Utješinović and County Governor Vrabčević , and with voluntary contributions made by Bishop Strossmayer, Metel Ožegović, Varaždin Catholics and prominent Croats, an Orthodox Church was built in Varaždin. It was designed in a historicist style and furnished with valuable inventory transferred from Zagreb’s Orthodox community.

Address: trg bana Jelačića 19

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