Varaždin has to thank the winemakers for its free royal town status

Grapevine was probably grown in the Varaždin area as early as in the Roman times, and historical sources say that the citizens of Varaždin have had their own vineyards for years and they care about them very much.

However, it might just be that Varaždin got its free royal town status from king Andrija II in 1209 thanks to vineyards.

In his work Vinogradarstvo grada Varaždina u srednjem vijeku (The winemaking tradition in Varaždin in the Middle ages), Srećko Ljubljanović writes that the first vineyards „should be looked for in Kneginec, that is Varaždinbreg“ before Varaždin was granted the free royal town status. People from Varaždin obviously went to Kneginec for business. At that time, in 1203 and 1204, King Andrija was imprisoned in Kneginec. People „attended to the King“, which „eased his imprisonment significantly“.

But, what did the Varaždin locals do in Kneginec? Since their fields, pastures and forests were in the close vicinity to Varaždin, it can be concluded that they had vineyards in Kneginec and established a close relationship to the future King.

To thank the people of Varaždin for their hospitality during his imprisonment in the Tower of Kneginec, Andrija II gave Varaždin the honor of „free royal town“.

The confirmation of this presumption can be also found in Andrija's Charter; in it, it is stated that „everyone is to pay 12 denars to the mayor of their town on St. Martin's Day“. Also, when he was made King, they were to give 20 „mjerova“ (a measurement unit that corresponds to almost 1000 l) of wine, 100 loaves of bread and on ox.

The King surely wouldn't ask for so much wine if the people didn't have big vineyards. It can thus be concluded that viticulture was one of the most important, if not the main source of income for the people of Varaždin in the 12th century.

It seens that vineyards brought Varaždin the free royal town status in the early 13th century.

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