Tragic love of Varaždin from the story of Ksaver Šandor Gjalski

Tragic love of Varaždin from the story of Ksaver Šandor Gjalski


One of the most beautiful love stories of Varaždin was told by Ksaver Šandor Gjalski.

The story begins very long ago, when Napoleon’s army was breaking Dalmatia and the whole of Croatia to pieces. Young lieutenant Milić from Lika, a royal soldier, served in Varaždin’s regiment. Meanwhile, family Pokupić from Karlovac countryside found its refuge from Napoleon’s army in the Old Fort. They had a daughter, Stazica, born on 29 September, 1799.

While taking his usual walk through bašča (which is how people of Varaždin called the trenches) it did not take long for handsome Milić to notice beautiful Stazica. They fell in love and even set the date of their wedding: Stazica’s birthsday, 29 September. Unfortunately, once again fate proved to be ellusive.

As Napoleon’s troops started to retreat, Stazica’s father wanted to return to his grandfathers’ estate in Pokuplje. However, the Austrian generals had different plans. They had usurped the estate of family Pokupić.The old Pokupić could not put up with that and he started to clamour against the German administration. Charged wjth high treason, he was executed before Stazica’s eyes on the very day of the wedding, 29 September.

The wedding was canceled. Stazica fell seriously ill. Lieutenant Milić was desperate, but he hoped to marry Stazica on 29 September the next year. However, Stazica grew weaker and weaker, and barely made it to her 20th birthsday. On her death-bed she expressed her eternal love for Milić and died on his arms on 29 September.

The lieutenant retired and spent the rest of his long life in solitude, living in the house by the graveyard, behind the hall Varaždin in Graberje. During his usual walks from the graveyard to the bašča, he seemed to be always looking for Stazica. Allegedly, on the last day of his life, 29 September, he saw Stazica greeting him from the walls of the Old Fort.

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