The fortress was first mentioned in the 12th century and is believed to have been the seat of Varaždin County at the time. At the end of the 14th century, it became the property of the Counts of Celje, who rebuilt it in the Gothic style. The central quadrangular building originates from that time, around which wooden palisades were originally located. Stari Grad is on the back, now invalid, of a Croatian 5 kuna banknote. The Varaždin Fortress on the 5 kuna banknote is printed upside down in relation to the actual appearance.