Old Town - Die Alte Burg
—Varaždin - The Old Castle —
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Varaždin was first mentioned in historical sources in 1181 under the name of Garestin in a document issued by King Bela III. In this document he returned the Topic estate near Varaždin, unlawfully appropriated by the Varaždin district perfect, to the Zagreb Diocese. In the charter declaring Varaždin a free royal borough, granted by King Andrew II of the Arpad Dynasty in 1209. Varaždin gained important economic, social, administrative and military rights.
The Old Castle is a lowlands fortification built at the intersection of ancient roads near the River Drava. Its defence function was paramount throughout history. The architectural base of the fortification comprises quadrangular Gothic towers erected in the times of the Counts of Celje. In the mid 15th century, Ulrich Celiski built a granary near the fortification.
Varaždin, thought of as the "Gate to Styria," became a defence fortification against Turkish invasion in the 16th century. At this time, the Old Castle was reconstructed into a modern fortification, surrounded by moats,
dikes and bastions with low rotund defence towers connected by galleries with openings for firearms. The construction of new fortifications did not extend only to the Old Castle but to the entire town of Varaždin, much of it still in evidence today. To carry out this construction work, in 1543 Ivan Ungnad of Sonneg brought Domenico de Lallio and other Italian engineers, who worked on the reconstruction of the fortifications until 1562. The entrance tower with a guardhouse was built in the second half of the 16th century. At this time too, the granary built by the Celje counts was turned into an arsenal for Slavonian troops on the Military Border.
The Old Castle was frequently reconstructed by the aristocratic families who owned it: the Counts of Celje, the Vito (illegible) Corvinus, the Ungnads and towards the 16th century, by Tom Erdödy. He became a hereditary district prefect of Varaždin county in 1607 by virtue (illegible) deed issued by King Rudolph II of the Habsburg Dynasty. The Old Castle was in the possession of the Erdödy family until 1925, when it was purchased by the city of Varaždin. Since then (illegible) the efforts of (?)ešimir Filic, (illegible) been home to the Varaždin Municipal Museum.
The most recent reconstruction of the structure began in 1925 and was finished in 1989. Today the history collections of the Varaždin Municipal Museum are
on display in the building.