Explore Inland Croatia
About 1km west of the castle, down Hallerova aleja, Varaždin’s municipal cemetery (Gradsko groblje) is one of Croatia’s greatest horticultural masterpieces. Begun in 1905, it was very much the life’s work of park keeper Hermann Haller, a serious student of European graveyards who believed that cemeteries should be life-enhancing public parks rather than the sombre preserve of wreath-laying mourners. He accordingly planted row upon row of conifers, carefully sculpted into stately green pillars that towered over the graves themselves – thereby providing “quiet and harmonious hiding places” for the deceased, as Haller himself explained. In among the greenery are some outstanding grave memorials, notably Robert Frangeš-Mihanović’s 1906 Art Nouveau relief of Death, angels and grieving relatives atop the tomb of Vjekoslav and Emma Leitner – it’s in the eastern end of the cemetery, and is marked as attraction no. 10 on the map at the main entrance.
The northern end of the cemetery contains a memorial to the communist partisans of World War II, with a row of spindly pylons exemplifying the kind of bold abstract art that sadly doesn’t often feature in public sculpture any more.