It was the centre of the noble estate, proprietaly and legally separated from the free royal town of Varaždin.
The fortress was built between the 14th and the 19th century. Its oldest part is the central tower. The benches and the baldachin in its ground floor are the most beautiful examples of the gothic secular plastic in north Croatia.
During the wars against the Turks, it was transformed into a Renaissance Wasserburg, a fort- castle surrounded by high ramparts with bastions, surrounded by double belts of water.
This was done in the second half of the 16th century by Italian builders from Como, led by the master empire fortress builder on the Slavonian border, Domenico Dell'Allio. Over the past it was owned by numerous noble families, the Counts of Cilli, Ivan Ungnad, Juraj Brandenburg and Ban Toma Erdody and his heirs. In 1925. the City of Varaždin took over its ownership.
In the honor of the millenium anniversary of the Croatian Kingdom, in 1925 the Varaždin City Museum was opened in the Old Town.
It became home to the collections of the oldest, Culture and History department, which are displayed in its rooms even today.
Some of the most valuable collections are: the guilds' objects collection, historic portraits collection, guns collection, paintings collection, clocks collection, porcelain and glass collection. As well as many other daily life objects used by the Varaždin noblemen and aristocracy, these collections can be seen every day in the Museum's 40 rooms. The collections that hold special value are the legacies of two famous locals; the politician and writer Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski and the linguist Vatroslav Jagić.
The chain bridge tower
Also known as the „Watch tower“, it was built in the second half of the 16th century in the Renaissance style. As the remains of the feudal fortress defense system, it was completely preserved. While in function, it was used for soldiers' accommodation and as the Captain of the Guard's apartment.