Varaždinske Toplice

The town of Varaždinske Toplice sits nestled in a beautiful, dynamically shaped landscape. Spatially it extends over travertine terraces on the southern slopes of the Varaždinske Toplice mountain range and gently descends into a fertile valley through which the river Bednja flows. The north and west of the valley is bordered by the tame slopes of the Varaždinske Toplice mountain range and Kalnik on the south and east.

Owing to its specific geographical position and climate conditions, this area has ensured good living conditions throughout history. The remains of prehistoric man, the contemporary of the better known Krapina prehistoric man, have been found in the limestone cave Gradišće from the Palaeolithic era dating back about 100,000 years.

The first inhabitants who lived in this area between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC were the Panonian – Illyrian tribe Jasi. Varaždinske Toplice experienced significant development in ancient times, a fact witnessed by numerous finds dating back to the Roman age, from the beginning of the 1 – 4th century. Around the year 300 A.D., a great fire engulfed the settlement after which it was reconstructed by Emperor Constantine the Great. Information about this can be found on a marble slab kept in the Varaždinske Toplice Heritage Museum.

Grad_Varazdinske_Toplice (22)At the beginning of Roman rule, the baths were mostly used by the Roman army. The Aquae Iasae were demolished during a period of civil war and the barbarian invasions at the end of the 4th century. The baths and other areas of the settlement were devastated, while the thermal water flooded uncontrolled and created limestone sediments covering the architectural remains, conserving them in their own way to the present day.

The Varaždinske Toplice are once again mentioned in the 12th century when Ban (viceroy) Aleksije bestowed it as a gift to the Zagreb Kaptol under the possession of Topliss. The Kaptol feudal estate increased in size through later deeds of donation, forming its final borders in the year 1500. Due to frequent battles with neighbouring estates, in 1376 a fortress (Kaštel) was built. Throughout the entire Middle Ages, the Zagreb Kaptol successfully contributed to the development of the entire locality and health tourism in the Toplice. This continued right up to 1945 when the Kaptol lost all of its holdings and all of its buildings.

In 1695, the Kaštel was partitioned and renovated in the baroque style. It was repurposed to serve as residential quarters for Kaptol employees and members of the Zagreb Kaptol. At the end of the 18th and particularly in the first half of the 19th century, the baths experienced even stronger development. The modern spa healthcare centre was founded on 1 May 1820 based on the principles of medical science at the time. In 1821 a large spa hotel was built, while in 1824 the Roman water supply network was reconstructed, and in 1836 the building of the Kaptol warehouse and wine cellar were renovated and extended to become the most elegant spa hotel of the time.

Today the tourist image of Varaždinske Toplice clearly depicts the natural springs of sulphuric thermal water, while the development of the Toplice is connected to healthcare tourism.