Thursday, 8 July 2021

Zagreb Grič Cannon: Explosive Noon Reminder

July 9, 2021 - Zagreb Grič Cannon - a reminder of noon, and a reason to avoid the centre if you aren't a fan of loud sounds. Get your noise-canceling headphones and read about the cannon's history, courtesy of TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

If you find yourself walking around a wider Zagreb centre (such as Savska Cesta or Marin Držić Avenue) around noon, and you focus on the sounds of the city, you may notice a weird sound in between traffic and people passing. An unusual sound, as if someone dropped a heavy box. But, if around noon, you find yourself at Ban Jelačić square or upper town, you will hear a clear and loud BANG! Fear not, as this is not a terrorist attack, and you weren't lied to when your tourist agency swore to god Zagreb is safe from such horrors. The heart-stopping bang is a signifier of noon. If you hear a boom at 11:59 or 12:01, your watch is behind a minute. The cannon states that clear and very, very loud.

Loudest time checker you could think of

Grič cannon first started signaling noon on January 1, 1877, and was located at the State's Meteorology department, back in times when Croatia was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. It wasn't until 1927 that it was moved to Fort Lotršćak where it is situated today.

According to the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery's official website, Fort Lotrščak was named after a bell and comes from campana latrunculorum, which is Latin for „Bell of Thieves“ that rang before closing city gates. Historians aren't exactly sure what the Fort looked like in medieval times, although it is speculated based on old sketches that it had only two floors. It wasn't until 1857 that romanticistic architecture gave the fortress today's four floors and an additional tower at the very top (from which you have a breath-taking view of Zagreb today).


Fort Lotrščak © Ivor Kruljac / Total Croatia News

In the 17th century, the Fort served as trading storage and had various other ways to adapt to the need of Zagreb and Zagreb's citizens at different times. At one point, when the City was out of money to restore and repair the Fort, it gave Lotrščak to citizens for rent. Citizens who wanted the Fort also had the obligation of maintaining it, and in case of enemy assault, it was to be returned back to the City for defense purposes.  

Warning shot 

Speaking of defense purposes, an old legend says how this cannon managed to save Zagreb with a single shot from the Ottoman conquerors. Legend has it that the Ottoman commander Hasan Pasha (Hasan Paša) settled his army at the coast of the Sava river, in today's area of Novi Zagreb. He was preparing to cross the river and invade the city. But before that, he was about to have lunch one day, and Zagreb fired from the cannon in the Ottoman's direction, close to Hasan and blasting a chicken he wanted to eat. The shot scared the hell out of the Ottomans and they retreated, leaving Zagreb intact.

Changing arsenal

Over the course of time, there were five different Grič cannons that served the purpose of signaling noon. The current canon was given during Zagreb's Univerzijada in 1987, courtesy of the Yugoslavian National Army (JNA) as Croatia at the time was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ).

As for the first three, you can find them today in the collection of the Zagreb City Museum. The first cannon originated in 1876 and was replaced by the second cannon in the unidentified year at the end of the 19th century. The third cannon you can see in Zagreb City Museum, and the first that was situated on Lotrščak fort, was introduced in 1928, and it was made by restoring a Polish cannon from 1912.


Three cannons showcased at Zagreb City Museum  © Ivor Kruljac / Total Croatia News   

So finding yourself in front of Fort Lotrščak (whose entrance is located right next to the Upper town funicular station) is not recognizable if you are not a fan of loud noise as it can give you a sound fright even down below at Jelačić square and the surrounding area. But, for the brave ones, the Grič cannon can provide a unique souvenir from Zagreb. It doesn't use live ammo (the cannon is modified so it can't), but it does fire several pieces of thick cardboard that then flies down to the area underneath Lotrščak's entrance and smelling like gunpowder.

Ceased fire

Despite being a regular background sound for the experience of living in Zagreb, Grič cannon went through periods when it ceased fire and stopped making statements. The first such instance was World War I and then followed by the war in the nineties. Most recently, the cannon was silenced after the Zagreb earthquake on March 22, 2020, but it re-fired hot and heavy sometimes in May 2020. However, followed by the December 29th Petrinja earthquake, which was also felt heavy in Zagreb, the cannon is silent even today.

„We are not quite sure when it will re-fire“, briefly commented the Zagreb Tourist Board member that welcomed me in Fort Lotrščak, one of the locations where Zagreb TB has a regular stand. Still, despite the cannon being silenced, you can climb and sightsee Lotrščak, the famous cannon as well as the watchtower on top of the Fort, for the prize of 20 kunas.


One of the exhibitions at Lotrščak © Kula Lotrščak

The Lotrščak Fort address is Tomićeva 9, and the Fort occasionally also hosts various exhibitions at times too. But, the cannon is a regular feature, and there are lots of info on the history of the cannon and the Fort itself there too on the walls- both in English and Croatian.    

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

For more about history in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Konavle Valley

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dubrovnik Cathedral

Friday, 10 March 2017

Stradun (Placa)

Friday, 10 March 2017

Park Orsula

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dominican Monastery

Friday, 6 June 2014

Split Palaces In And Around The Palace

When someone mention the word Palace in Split, association is more than obvious, Diocletian's Palace. It's the main city landmark, and actually the city itself, because of the life that's going on within its walls for 17 centuries.

However, through rich and turbulent history of Split many noble families and distinguished citizens built their residences in what we today know and cherish as the historical centre. Since they were built, some of them were turned into museums, like Split City Museum in Papalic Palace, or Emanuel Vidovic Gallery in Andric house. Others were converted into shops , even supermarkets like the Small Papalic Palace, or restaurants, or bars in Karepic, Cipci and Marulic palaces. One of the most beautiful, Ciprianis, now hosts one political part, unfortunately not very interested for meaning of that house in Split history. And yes, there are luxury apartments in some of them, like in Grisogono and Deskovic. Unfortunately, there are also those which are neglected and deserted, inhabited, for example Albert.

What is important, though, is that all of them are excellent examples of architecture styles over centuries in Split. It's also nice alternative way for Split sightseeing which will bring you excellent insight into historical layers that city is made of. While walking from one to another, you can see all other important landmarks, and info plaques will tell you all you need to know about each one of these palaces. Just follow our map available here and watch for buildings from our photos.

Andric house

Kuća Andrić

Alberti Palace

Palača Alberti

Augubio Palace

Palača Augubio1

Bajamonti-Deskovic Palace

Palača Bajamonti-Dešković

Cambi Palace

Palača Cambi

Cindro Palace

Palača Cindro

Cipci Palace

Palača Cipci

Dragisic (De Caris) Geremia

Palača Dragišić-De Caris-Geremia

Dragisic (De Caris) Palace

Palača Dragišić-De Caris

Grisogono Palace

Palača Grisogono

Karepic Palace

Palača Karepić

Palace at the Golden Gate

Palača kod Zlatnih vrata

Palace at the Iron Gate

Palača kod Željeznih vrata

Marulic Palace

Palača Marulić

Milesi Palace

Palača Milesi

Palace at Dosud

Palača na Dosudu

Nakic Palace

Palača Nakić

Small Papalic Palace

Palača Papalić mala

Big Papalic Palace

Palača Papalić-velika1

Pavlovic Palace

Palača Pavlović

Skocibusic Palace

Palača Skočibušić

Tartaglia Palace

Palača Tartaglia