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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Croatian City Of Varaždin Celebrating 18th Year Of Špancirfest This August (+Video)






This one is just a quick repost that I did last month since the event officially started up just yesterday, and I don't have to type anything...





It's that time year again for the annual Špancirfest in the historic baroque town of Varaždin.





I already mentioned this topic previously HERE, so this is just a refresher since I came across some decent video footage from last year. (This is NOT a tourism post though remember because I don't do tourism posts, just information for the benefit of the reader) Just basically to show the readership that it's not all just on the coast where all the summer entertainment and various events take place, or the only place in the country that is worth checking out. Because there's more than enough talk and images from the coastal areas in the summer, but it's important to remember that there actually is life, existence and plenty interesting summer things going on and to see and do elsewhere in the rest of the country, including the small towns and cities like Varaždin in this case. People do exist and truly live lives away from the coast in the summer. (It may seem unbelievable to some but it's true) The truth must be told, this is the blog of truth after all.








What is Špancirfest exactly? (pronounced "shpawn-tseer-fest") Well, Špancirfest is a summer festival that takes place in the city of Varaždin. And where is Varaždin exactly? Varaždin is located in the northwest region of Croatia just between the Slovenia and Hungary border. It's an old historic settlement from the times of the medieval Kingdom of Croatia and recorded for the first time by name in 1181 as an important newly elevated fortress town.

(As an interesting sidenote, (because so many readers keep begging for those spontaneous quirky math and history facts all the time), in 1756 as part of measures to cut administrative costs throughout the empire, Maria Theresa the Empress of the Habsburgs (and the Croatian crown lands within Austria-Hungary), moved the Croatian Government from Zagreb to Varaždin and established the Royal Croatian Council overseeing the Croatian Triune Kindom lands, (Headed by the Croatian Ban/Prime Minister [pronounced like 'bahn'] and Croatian nobles), so Varaždin actually became the Croatian capital until it moved back to the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb in 1776). Castles, palaces, mansions, fortresses, baroque buildings, classical theatre houses, classicist and secessionist homes and even cobbled roads are still found in the medieval-renaissance-baroque historic Old Town nucleus of Varaždin. Today, besides some other annual festivals here the old town quarter is for the most part a quiet and relaxing type of location throughout most of the year. (the nearby Varaždinske Toplice have been popular natural hot springs for many centuries also)





Varaždin Civil Guards in the 1840's.



I should also mention that it's not generally known that Varaždin was under attack a number of times during the centuries of Ottoman Jihads into Europe, yet from the1530's onward every single Ottoman army and their Serb volunteers attacks from the Sanjak of Smederevo was repelled in their attempt to take the strategically important town. (As a matter of fact, from the Seige of Vienna in 1529 to the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the combined Ottoman armies and their Serb volunteers allies had to repeatedly circumvent around the Croatian defensive military positions, including Varaždin, to attain their goal of reaching Vienna. The bloodthirsty Ottoman Serb Grand Vizier and de facto ruler of the Ottoman empire, Мехмед-паша Соколовић (English: Mehmed-Pasha Sokolovich, aka Sokollu Mehmed Pasha) led numerous combined Turkish Ottoman and Serb jihad campaigns to try to break through Croatian positions but with no success)

Also worth noting of course is the still kept tradition of the Varaždinska građanska garda (Varaždin Civil Guards, who were grenadier soldiers and aka the "Purgari" seen above), which is a historic civil military unit formed in 1538 and then officially founded in a 1750 statute by imperial decree, they are still used for Varaždin county events and official ceremonial functions even today (example) as well as representatives of the historical units of Varaždin Hussars that existed in the vicinity until 1813. Varaždin and the surrounding county suburbs is of course also known for various local gastronomical choices (foods), wines, specialty liquors and pastries etc.








However, and getting back to the main point of this post, once a year for 10 days in August, Špancirfest comes along. A time of mixing the old with the new, bringing out the foods and drinks, old costumes, crafts, displays, historical reenactments and related events, and also more modern events, jugglers, costumes, street performers, entertainment, programs and music, (It can seem sort of like medieval times in a way when you think about it, because there used to be court jesters, fools, musicians, magicians and various entertainers back then too, of course along with the local village wench and goblets of frothy mead)





Varaždin was also a host city this past April during the Tour of Croatia cycling stage races.




There is something for one and all and a time to celebrate the town with food, entertainment, art and the arts. Even the cool 3D projection mapping visuals and neon drumming mimes will be there again this year. (see previous post festival-visualia-2014-3d-projection-pula for more about that) Maybe it's not as well known, long running or on the scale of festivals like the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and some other different themed ones, but Varaždin is not Dubrovnik and it isn't located on the coast, that's the way geography is and which also explains the lack of boats, rubber dinghies and shrimp and mussels in Lake Varaždin.





Cobbled roads still visible within the old town quarter paths and walkways. Instagram photo.




Varaždin from August 19-28 will once again feature over 1,000 well-known street performers, musicians, theatre performers, comedy acts and acrobats from all over the world. More than 40 concerts will also take place this year, during these days Varaždin regularly hosts over 100,000 visitors coming from all over Croatia and even visitors from the surrounding countries.








It's still mainly Croatian music acts that perform at Špancirfest, but over the years it's become more eclectic in regards to entertainment and things to do and see. Practically unheard of to most, Varaždin is located in the northwest corner of Croatia just between Slovenia and Hungary, quite a ways from the Adriatic coast, and all the boats and beaches, and there are many similar events taking place all across Croatia during these summer months, but believe you me, Špancirfest will be a happening interesting place to be at this summer. Guaranteed. If you're in the area you should definitely check it out, and if not it's still good to know. Below is some video footage from last year's Špancirfest 2015 and what to expect this year, so I don't have to add a bunch of photos.


More information at the official website spancirfest.com.







Related: spancirfest-2014_varazdin

www.likecroatia.com

twitter.com/spancirfest

www.instagram.com/spancirfest

www.flickr.com/photos/spancirfest

www.facebook.com/spancirfest

croatia.hr/Varazdin/Culture/Fun/Spancirfest

wikipedia.org/wiki/Varazdin




A few video highlights from last year's Špancirfest 2015.




Some of the music entertainment for Špancirfest 2016.




More music entertainment for Špancirfest 2016.




One of the special circus acts showing up this year again.




A wide variety of music acts that performed in 2015.




Various foreign travelling televangelists and subversive cults over the years have tried to set up pools, crusades and sell books in Varaždin during Špancirfest, but luckily the heavenly clouds opened up and a great fire swallowed them up unto the lands of the Moabites and Jebusites, and Detroitites and some other places, they were then rebuked and denied permits and barred from the town by citizens with pitchforks and thrown bricks of cheese and various canned jams. That's why every year there's a children's programs and activities center during Špancirfest instead.




...and interactive stuff also.



More than 40 concert performances over 7 days for 30 bucks during Špancirfest 2016, not a bad deal.



A few scenes of the various street performers and entertainment from 2015.




And lastly, some interesting views of the Old Town section of Varaždin during Non-Špancirfest time.











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