Unearthing the Hidden Charms of Varaždin: A Quirky Guide
In the heart of Croatia, you’ll find Varaždin, a place that most certainly didn’t get the memo about "less is more." This city amplifies the concept of "more is more" to a level that would make any minimalist feel claustrophobic. Its Baroque buildings are chock-a-block with fancy frills, seriously overstuffed with style, and they seem to be in a perpetual contest for who can squeeze in the most embellishment. If you’re a fan of architectural abundance, then you’re in for a banquet!
If you want to play detective for the day and unearth some hidden charms, venture off to the less-visited corners of Varaždin. Beyond the bustling market squares and winding alleyways, you’ll find the Varaždin Cemetery. Now before you question the sanity of this suggestion, bear in mind that this isn’t your typical, gloomy, ‘run-of-the-mill’ graveyard. It’s more like a quiet, serene park that’s, rather awkwardly, littered with tombstones. You see, Hermann Haller, a guy with a flair for landscaping and a peculiar knack for making even death look pretty, designed it. Almost magically, he turned this place into a beautiful, soothing sanctuary that entices lovers, poets, and bird-watchers alike.
And if you have a bit more time to kill, saunter down to Šetalište Franje Tuđmana 18 and visit the mysterious Drava Legends. This place is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, served on a platter of mystery, and garnished with a sprinkle of ‘whodunit.’ Hidden inside a humble wooden cabin, Drava Legends will take you on an enchanting tour of ancient lore, featuring the dragon of Varaždin and other fabled creatures. Just to let you know, this place is as ‘off the beaten path’ as it gets!
From Baroque Bliss to Spooky Tombs: Varaždin Like Never Before
Varaždin, despite its compact size (you can walk the whole shebang in a day), is a treasure trove of Baroque mastery and oddly attractive cemeteries. Start your foray at the Old Town Castle, located at Strossmayerovo šetalište 7. Trust us, you can’t miss it. It’s the one that looks like it’s suffered from a severe case of architectural schizophrenia, displaying a messy mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and, of course, Baroque styles. The best part? It houses a museum that, frankly, has more artifacts than it knows what to do with, from medieval weapons to a vague bear skin that someone once thought was a good idea.
Then, brace yourself as you step inside the ‘St. Nicholas’ Cathedral’ (‘Katedrala sv. Nikole’ for those wanting to impress the locals with their Croatian). Here, the Baroque spectacle hits its crescendo; it’s like a symphony of gilt adornments, flouncy frescoes, and elaborate paintings. It’s all so grand, you might feel like a meerkat in a disco, unsure where to look next.
Finally, we dare you to embark on a moonlit tour of the aforementioned Varaždin Cemetery. Creepy? Yes. An experience to remember? Absolutely. It’s like exploring a Tim Burton movie, complete with spooky tombs, monumental mausoleums, and an eerie dose of silence. And who knows, in the process, you might even meet some of Varaždin’s oldest "residents." Just remember, if they start sharing centuries-old town gossip, you never heard it from us!