Franciscan church of St. John the Baptist and the monastery - Varaždin
The Franciscans came to Varaždin in the 13th century and they built their church and monastery on the foundations of the existing church of St. John. Today’s bell tower of St. John the Baptist stands out in the panorama of the city with its height and massiveness. In the middle of the outer south wall is a restored old fresco of a sundial with the image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus from 1713.
The single nave church of St. John the Baptist contains seven altars – the main one dedicated to St. John the Baptist and the side altars dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Didacus, St. Ladislaus the King, Blessed Virgin Mary Ascended to the Heaven and St. Clare. The main altarpiece depicts the baptism of Jesus, with statues of Saint Peter and Paul, as well as statues of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joachim and Anna, and two Franciscans in contemplation and prayer.
The monastery has preserved its original form from the 17th century. In the atrium of the monastery there is a saw with a stone statue of St. Francis. Within the monastery there is a library with about 35,000 volumes from the 15th to the 21st century and, thanks to its rich fund, it is considered the richest library in northwestern Croatia. In the monastery corridors there are valuable paintings with sacral motifs, chalices, etc.
On Franciscan Square, in front of the church, there is a statue of Gregory of Nin, bishop of Nin, who in the 10th c. advocated the widespread use of the vernacular in worship.