The oldest square in Varaždin

The oldest square in Varaždin


If asked, many will say that the oldest square in Varaždin is the King Tomislav Square. However, the oldest square is the Franciscans' Square.

The first houses in Varaždin were built there, at the crossroads of roads leading from the west to the east and from the north to the south. Mira Ilijanić writes about „a typically medieval location of old Varaždin's squares- the Franciscan square, that developed from an early medieval street square, the so called 'vicus', and a late medieval square 'forum publicum'- the City Hall square“ and adds that „both squares hold the mutual name of 'forum publicum' in the town records from the 17th century.

The Knights Hospitaller came to Varaždin in the early 13th century. They built the monastery and St. John the Baptist's Church, which was taken over by the Franciscans at the end of the century. 

There was a parish church built south of this church. It was probably built around 1172- even before Varaždin was first mentioned in historical documents (1181).

The historical documents of that time say that the „varošani“- free citizens of Varaždin, were very successful traders who developed a live trade with Styria, which enabled some of them to acquire great wealth.

For example, in 1270 „a respectable citizen Kurej“ bought a palace and 5 manor houses in Varaždin.

Houses were made of wood and covered with straw, reed and oak wood. As the town developed and expanded, the square in front of the City Hall became the main square and the centre of the Varaždin's public life.

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