Last modified: 2011-08-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: varazdin county | varazdinska zupanija | eagle (yellow) | deer | castle (white) | star: 6 points (yellow) | star: 8 points (yellow) | varazdin | erdody |
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Flag of Varaždin County - Image by Željko Heimer, 14 October 2000
Varaždin County is situated north of Zagreb, around the town of Varazdin, capital of Croatia until the 18th century. The County emerged in the 9th-10th centuries, and was certainly in existence when the Hungarian dynasty took over the Croatian crown. It was one of the few regions of Croatia that remained under jurisdiction of the Parliament in Zagreb when everything else was lost to the Turks. In a great battle fought in 1593 against the Turks by the town of Sisak, the victorious Croatian army was led by the ban, Count Toma Erdedi (Hungarian, Tamás Erdödy). For this victory he was given in 1607 the inheritable title of the župan of Varaždin County. The Erdödy family held the hereditary title (and administration) until 1845, and even later when there were several župan from that noble family.
Željko Heimer, 29 July 1999
The symbols of Varaždin County are prescribed by Decision Odluka o opisu i uporabi grba i zastave Županije Varaždinske, adopted on 26 June 1995 by the County Assembly and validated on 18 July 1995 by the Ministry of Administration.
The symbols are described in the County's Statutes (Statut Varaždinske županije, last consolidated as published on 2 July 2009 in the County official gazette Službeni vjesnik Varaždinske županije, No. 15.
The flag of Varaždin County is the same as the flag of the Town of Varaždin, with the addition of the County's coat of arms.
The coat of arms is offset to the hoist, so that its vertical axis is from hoist at 6/10 of the flag height. The size of the coat of arms on the flag is rather vaguely established in the Decision, prescribing that it should "cover the upper red stripe only with its insignificant part, and the lower red a little bit more". Accoring to my calculations, this makes its height to be just about 2/3 of the flag height.
Željko Heimer, 20 December 2009
Coat of arms of Varaždin County - Image by Željko Heimer, 14 October 2000
In 1763, Empress and Queen Maria Teresa confirmed the coat of arms of the County, which is essentially equal to the family coat of arms of the Counts Erdödy, thay is "Quarterly, 1. Gules a crowned spread eagle or, 2. and 3. Azure, two bars wavy argent between them two six-pointed mullets or, 4. Gules, a masoned wall with a tower argent port and windows maroon, Inescutcheon or, on a triple mount vert a half wheel maroon issuant on it a deer issuant proper. The shield was oval in 1763, with a baroque ornamented golden border, and crowned. This remained the coat of arms of the County until 1922, with one notable exception in 1848.
During the 1848 events, a new coat of arms was proposed and used for a short time, as well as a flag to accompany it. The coat of arms was "Azure, on three mounts vert three figures of men shaking hands, accompanied with a crescent and star argent". The three men were said to be Čeh, Leh and Meh, three brothers from the Slavic mythology. There is a story connecting the brothers with the town of Krapina, then within the Varaždin County, and star and crescent are taken up from the "Old Croatian" coat of arms. The flag made according to this idea seems to be yellow with rectangular patch bearing the image of that coat of arms.
When the Varaždin County was reestablished in 1993, the question on the coat of arms was raised. Some of the members of County Assembly objected to the old coat of arms for several reasons - that family arms are not appropriate for the County, being "personal" coat of arms, that the family is of Hungarian origin - to name a few.
However, consulting heraldists and historical archives in Zagreb, it was concluded that the coat of arms had already been adopted and used as the County's coat of arms for more then 200 years, and that therefore it could not be considered as a family coat of arms anymore. The regulations issued by the Ministry of Administration supported that idea, giving right to Counties to use their historical coat of arms and requiring the flags to be of two colours with the coat of arms in them.
Therefore, the modernized (simplified shield only) version of the historical coat of arms and the flag to go with it were adopted by the County Assembly and approved by the Ministry of Administration.
The modern coat of arms is on a semi-circular shield, retaining all the elements from the historical coat of arms, only modernizing a bit the artistical rendition.
Željko Heimer,29 July 1999
Flag proposals for Varaždin County - Images by Željko Heimer, 14 October 2000
The County's symbols were defined in a contest held in 1995. The jury gave two prizes - one for the flag proposal (won by Tomislav & Edita Goluban from Zagreb, who kindly provided the information), and the other for the coat of arms proposal (won by Ivica Kruhoberec).
Among several designs that I was provided with by Golubans, I am showing here:
- the winning flag proposal, blue with two wavy stripes and three nine-pointed stars in between;
- a flag proposal including the winning coat of arms proposal: a red flag with two white stripes (1:1:2:1:1), and the arms "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules two barrulets argent, 2. and 3. Azure two mullets between two barrulets wavy-counterwavy or, Inescutcheon or issuant from a triple mount vert a wheel proper from which is issuing a semi-deer rampant proper".
The jury called upon the artists to work together on a common design for the flag and coat of arms based on their winning designs and matching the regulations issued by the Ministry of Adminstration.
Željko Heimer, 14 October 2000
The website of the Varaždin Municipal Museum has a section dedicated to the exhibition Year 1848 in Varaždin, designed by Magdalena Loncarić, the Curator of the Museum. It shows photos of several flags, including two historical flags of the Varaždin County:
- Obverse of the County flag of 1778, made of red and white brocade with fringes and tassels, sized 100 x 118 cm, with the painted coat of arms of the County sized 47 x 62 cm, and today hardly readable three rows inscription in the top stripe. The reverse shows in the painting of the Virgin. A replica was allegedly made to be used as a ceremonial County flag of the County.
- Reverse of the County flag of 1848, tricolour of red-white-blue with a newly designed coat of arms, inscription above and below reading "BARJAK ŽUPANIJE VARAŽDINSKE" (Banner of the Varadin County). The text explains that the County Assembly decided on 30 May 1848 that the Erdödy family's inherited title on the County shall not be recognized any further, and following that that the County's coat of arms and flags showing the family's coat of arms should be replaced. The new coat of arms was adopted, showing figures of the Slavic brothers Čeh, Leh and Meh, and the tricolour flags showed this coat of arms.
Željko Heimer, 20 September 2009