Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Varaždin cathedral
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven, also known as the Varaždin Cathedral, is one of the most significant early Baroque sacral structures in northern Croatia. The Jesuits in the 17th century started to build it with the financial assistance of Count Gašpar Drašković. In gratitude, the coat of arms of the Drašković family is on the stone facade of the cathedral.
The cathedral is a single nave church with six side chapels, simple exterior and lavish interior. On its exterior stand out the sculptures of diocesan patrons – St. Mark of the Cross and Croatian Blessed people: Alojzije Stepinac, Ivan Merz and The Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified Petković. Their sculptures are in niches on the stone facade.
In the interior of the cathedral, its monumentality is dominated by the main altar with the central altar painting of the Assumption of Mary, with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, Jesuit saints St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, and statues of St. John of Nepomuk and St. Donatus.
All six sides of the cathedral used to have altars, but only three have been preserved. The altars of St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius, (first chapels left and right), were erected at the end of the 18th century. The third altar, containing a glass-protected image of the Crucifixion, is one of the finest Rococo works in northern Croatia.
Built along with the Cathedral was the Jesuit monastery. It was often changing its purpose over the centuries. The monastery, together with the cathedral, represents the most valuable complex of early Baroque architecture in Varaždin.