Category Archives: Cemeteries

Varazdin, a little piece of Vienna in Croatia

It would have been one insignificant weekend morning when H unexpectedly announced over the breakfast table, “Let’s go somewhere different this Saturday. Let’s go to Croatia!”

That’s the beauty of living in Central Europe, you see,  particularly in the Zala region of Hungary.  We have Slovenia, Austria and Croatia just at our doorstep.  We have thought about going to Croatia anyway to buy some fish.  Saltwater fish in landlocked Hungary seems to be a never heard of thing and we are dying to eat seafood!

So I googled the “most beautiful towns of Croatia” and Varazdin flashed onto the screen.

“Croatia’s Baroque gem.  A little piece of Vienna.  The  ancient capital (1756 to 1776) until it was destroyed by fire and the capital went to Zagreb.  During those two decades of reign, religious orders, noblemen and wealthy tradesmen brought in the best architects, designers and painters to construct monasteries, churches, palaces and mansions.  It is one of Europe’s most preserved Baroque centers.”  H didn’t need convincing,

So a quick drive and a short queue at the  border control later, we arrived in Varazdin at mid-day, just when the open market was just starting to pack up.  Our dream of buying fish disintegrated in thin air.  But we’re not fretting.  We’ll go to the supermarket later.

When I saw the Old Town, it reminded me of Prague and Bratislava.  The cobbled streets, the medieval castle, the pastel coloured facades of the Baroque buildings, make it looking like a town coming out from  history and fairytale book combined!

 

 

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20151010_132357bIts religious character is shown by the shrines that are built everywhere.

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The Stari Grad (Old Castle) was a defensive fort but the fortification has now been transformed
into a delightful circular promenade where you see a good view of the town amongst a green landscape.

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In the summer, I can just imagine this square teeming with day tourists coming from the more popular coastal towns of the country

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20151010_132559b“The Crinoline of Love”

The uniqueness of Varazdin’s universal language of love is the placing of a padlock on this crinoline
to gradually build a sculpture with all the peculiarities derived from the colour and shape of the padlocks used.

20151010_130902bEgg dispenser…. egg vending machine…. Yes, you’re seeing it right.
Croatia’s first egg vending machine was launched last year in this city.
It can hold up to 600 eggs and the aim is to keep people employed in agriculture-related
business focusing on family-run operations.

Bought a souvenir of Croatian honey brandy or "med rakija" in their language. Sweet and mild, Great as "digestif"
Bought a souvenir of Croatian honey brandy or “med rakija” in their language. Sweet and mild, Great as “digestif”

 

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“You should visit our cemetery, it’s famous all over the world!”, said a waiter whom we passed by cleaning the front of his restaurant. So glad we stumbled upon him, we could have easily missed it. It’s also the most visited park in the city because the locals find it more peaceful and more beautiful.

“Varaždin cemetery was established in 1773, and in 1905, Herman Haller began to arrange about 7,000 cypress, maple, ash, red beech, boxes, magnolia and birch. Clipping Thuja in geometrical bodies made the cemetery more similar to the French fleet.” (wikipedia)

 

cemeteryBut what are these? The living already preparing their final resting place?

We had lunch of chicken and chips, beer, dessert and coffee and guess how much we paid for two?  10euros!
In Paris and London – this amount will only get us two cups of capuccino, accompanied by a coin-size chocolate if we are lucky!

London’s Highgate Cemetery

Quite simply the most extraordinary place in London that I have visited!

It must be my adoration for everything ancient, abandoned and overgrown for which I am finding very hard to locate in modern-day London.  Luckily, my fascination on   historical burial grounds (morbid it may sound to an ordinary tourist)  had led me to discovering one of the most well-preserved Victorian cemeteries just north of the capital and I couldn’t agree more with Badaude, the creator of London Walks when she said, “Perhaps the only “city” in London with no living inhabitants.  Ironically, these green and restful places…..are some of the best places in London to be alive.”

 

 Due to intolerable burial conditions in the early 19th century, Parliament created seven private cemeteries within the periphery of the city and among them was Highgate which opened in 1839 (the West Cemetery).  In 1854, the East Cemetery was added and this is where Karl Marx is buried.

I got to visit the East Cemetery only as the West is open only Saturdays and Sundays and on guided tours, shame!  Anyway, I saw Karl Marx’ grave and that already made me contented!

Voila, Mr Marx’s tomb where written on his epitaph:

” The Philosophers have only interpreted the World in various ways – the point however is to change it.”

 

  The East Cemetery is exquisitely beautiful with gravestones and sculptures almost overran with vegetation…

 

Without reading the tombstone, you can easily guess that the dead was a scientist.

A dead man’s biography in one stone.

The tombs and their concrete accessories have been left there unmoved, except by terrestial intervention..

 

 

 

I almost dropped out of fear, but it’s only a sculpture, I thought.