Varazdin is a small town not far from Hungarian border, and about two hours drive north of Zagreb (The “two hours drive” depends very much on the vehicle that one is driving, and lets not forget that we are still in the VW-bus) well known for its baroque city center, but even more for its cemetery.
Gradsko groblje Varaždin (Varaždin City Cemetery) became internationally well known for its unique design after Herman Heller became its director (1905-1947) and ordered a planting plan that included over 7000 Arborvitaes as well as Maples, Ash trees, Birches, Willows and Magnolias. By careful trimming of the trees and shrubs caretakers are creating arcades and walls that suggest walking through an outdoor cathedral. Design is meant to inspire a sense of peace, order and contemplation.
Walking through the Cemetery was overwhelming. It was an endless maze of meticulously trimmed, repeating green walls that enforced a sense of the human time constraint as well as the endlessness of time. I was hoping that a visit to the Cemetery will be relaxing, but the sense of peace around me was in a stark contrast with the sense of unrest inside me. The notion that I have a dynamic schedule ahead and must soon depart would not leave my mind. Another issue was formality and finality of this place as opposed to the lively, playful, colorful and wild allotment gardens that I am used to seeing by now.
Our Varazdin host was Goran Hanzek who devoted plenty of his free time to showing us around the town and the gardens. We say our goodbyes and depart towards Sisak.
Last views of Varazdin: