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Hrvatski dvorci
 
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Building

Style Characteristic
Citadel transformed into a manor

Architecture Characteristic
We do not know much about what Varaždin Castle looked like in the fifteenth century. In 1446, when Janoš Hunyadi attacked the castle in order to conquer it, he set fire to the town but did not manage to take the castle. The castle records from 1454 to 1464 mention embankments with palisades and trenches around the castle. The square Gothic tower is the oldest part of the castle, dating from the beginning of the fifteenth century. In time the tower became the keep around which the castle grew. The eastern tower and the walls around the castle were probably built about 1524.
In the middle of the sixteenth century Varaždin Castle went through a radical transformation that turned it from a late Gothic fortress into a Renaissance moated castle. The previously unfortified suburbs got stone Renaissance fortifications of rectangular ground plan with walls and trenches. The Renaissance reconstruction and renewal of the castle was begun in about 1544 by the Styrian Baron Ivan Ungnad, at that time the owner of the castle and Captainin-Chief of the border region. Work was carried out by the famous Italian fortificational architect Domenico dell'Allio who built the fortress in Graz. Varaždin Castle got round Renaissance corner towers, so-called rondele, in front of which rose high earthen embankments surrounded by a moat with water diverted from the Drava. The earlier medieval parts were partly reconstructed, and partly fitted into the new Renaissance appearance of the castle. Thus the square Gothic tower was raised by one storey, loopholes were made in its walls and its platform adapted to the use of heavy artillery. The Renaissance two-light window with Ungnad's arms on the southern front of the Gothic tower is the work of dell'Alfio. The castle got many early Renaissance architectural details, for example simply-profiled pylons for the archivolt, stone buttresses in the form of Doric columns, stone and wooden balustrades, porches with arcades and painted facades (sgraffiti) on the court side, etc. The fortifications of the castle and the town were finished in 1575.
From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, when the castle was the property of the Erdodys, it was repaired, added to and remodelled several times to transform it from a military stronghold into a palace that could comfortably be lived in. The most important architectural innovations were in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries at the time of the baroque renewal, when galleries were built along the southern wall, the Chapel of St Lawrence annexed to the north-eastern tower, residential premises built in the second floor of the western part of the castle, etc. In 1705 the greatest reconstruction took place, as can be seen from the inscription and the Erdody and Rakoczy arms above the gatehouse. A bridge was built between the square tower and the northern walls in 1776, dividing the inner courtyard into two parts, and this more-or-less ended the construction of Varaždin Castle, which is today a Gothic-Renaissance-baroque structure.
To the south of the castle lay the outer courtyard, protected by a tower pulled down at the beginning of the nineteenth century. There was a three-storey armoury and gunpowder store in the courtyard, today the Historical Archives. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Varaždin had already recovered from the great fire, the city fortifications began to be pulled down and the moats filled in because they had become an obstacle to urban development. Varaždin Castle now became part of the baroque town centre, dominating it in size and marking the northern border of the historic urban territory.

 
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