How Far Can Zagreb Grič Cannon Fire? Ideal Conditions View of the Fire Range

By 20 July 2021
How Far Can Zagreb Grič Cannon Fire? Ideal Conditions View of the Fire Range
Screenshot / PIXSELL

July 21, 2021 - Ever wondered about the Zagreb Grič Cannon fire? TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac played with Google maps to provide an answer in ideal conditions.

While Zagreb Grič Cannon did not shoot at the time of writing this article, it is still one of the key symbols of Zagreb, and memories of its bang during midday is a vital part of living in Zagreb experience.

As TCN previously wrote, Grič Cannon was first introduced 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. Also, the current cannon serving the purpose is actually fifth in edition and was donated to Zagreb by Yugoslavian National Army (JNA), during Universiade.

Apart from signaling noon, the old legend says Grič Cannon also served a defensive purpose. As TCN previously wrote, 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.

The legend itself is part of a book titled „Grič Cannon legend“ where a writer Dubravko Horvatić gathered 20 Croatian legends, and the book is a mandatory book report title for Croatian pupils in the third year of elementary school.

ptc_pixsell.jpgPreparing the cannon, screenshot / PIXSELL

Legend vs facts

With the story taking place in the 16th century, it's obvious the tale is just a legend as the cannon was not introduced until the 19th century. Still, it's a cool story, and a perverted mind can't but help think: what is the range you could shoot with the Grič Cannon?

As Wikipedia page says, and the member of Zagreb Tourist Board in Lotrščak tower confirmed to this sleuth reporter, the current cannon's range is 7,929 meters (almost eight kilometers), and the sound of the blast has a solid 140 dB.

Legend says Hasan Paša was on the coast of Sava river, which means in southern Zagreb, and sure enough, Grič cannon is facing south from Fort Lotrščak. The Cannon floor also has windows in each direction, meaning you could move the cannon to north, west, and east.  

When playing with Google maps distance measuring tools, you can see that the smallest distance between the Sava river and Fort Lotrščak gives or take 3,1 kilometers. So, the current cannon, under the right angle, should easily make that shot.


The distance between Fort Lotrščak and Sava river, screenshot / Google Maps

Apart from the possibilities of buildings and hills messing up the shot, there are other things that need to be taken into consideration.    

As the Department of the Army U.S. Marine Corps identified back in 1996, in their manual, there are many factors that affect artillery fire.

Muzzle velocity, projectile weight, range wind, air temperature, air density, rotation of the earth., and the overall condition of the barrel are challenges that could limit the cannon's full potential. And yes, Google maps aren't really the most precise tool on the planet, but let's take a shot in the dark and see how far could Grič cannon fire (keep in mind these projections are made solemnly based on the maximum range, and the factors are not taken in account but are mentioned for the sake of trivia knowledge).

South! Aim! Fire!

Let's start from the cannon's current position. Assuming no building, hills, or anything else gets in the way, and you are a physics genius that managed to isolate on Fort Lotrščak with live ammo and achieve a clear straight shot, your cannonball makes an impact all the way in line with Donji Čehi (but a bit away to the east from the place). Donji Čehi, along with Gornji Čehi, used to be independent villages but are today part of the city of Zagreb. With only 1,72 km2 of length, the place counts 232 residents, based on a 2011 census 


Grič Cannon maximum range to the south, screenshot / Google Maps

 West! Aim! Fire!

Continue clockwise and set your cannon to take a shot towards the west, with a range of little under eight kilometers. You can score all the way to Krnska street in Gajnice. Krn is both a name of a mountain and a peak (2244) in Slovenia. The mountain is a part of the Triglav National Park in Slovenia (and if this side note sees your attention fly to Slovenia, be sure to check our friends at Total Slovenia News). Gajnice is a neighborhood in Zagreb that counts around 10,000 residents. The neighbourhood is notorious for lousy connection with the rest of the Zagreb, and local residents often complain about infrequent buses that connect them to Črnomerec from where they can travel to the city's center. Well, at least, the center doesn't aim them with a cannon. 


Grič Cannon maximum range to the west, screenshot / Google Maps

 North! Aim! Fire!

The new target, or well, lucky shot, towards the North. Don't worry about Medvednica mountain getting in the way of a clear shot towards Zagorje, as the range is not long enough. The shot will hit Medvednica mountain, more precisely, to the close proximity of Tusti Vrh. The location is placed 648 meters above sea level height and serves as a stand for a communication station with antenna polls. But, no need to shoot the place up and destroy a lovely piece of nature, which also serves an important social role in regards to telecommunication. Instead, you can visit the place as the Gračani trail leads there.


Grič Cannon maximum range to the north, screenshot / Google Maps

 East! Aim! Fire!

Finally, it's time to ruin someone's day in east Zagreb (fortunately, no person was hurt during these simulations in reality). Specifically to whoever lives in Retkovec III near Bruma Interijeri d.o.o. company specialized in woodwork.

Petkovic is a neighborhood that is part of the Dubrava district. Mostly a residential place, like much of eastern neighborhoods considered to be a bit rough area to live. Still, things are not as bad as before.


Grič Cannon maximum range to the east, screenshot / Google Maps


Shooting blanks

Again, it's worth noting these projections aren't accurate science and imply conditions so ideal that such an ideal world wouldn't need firearms and everyone would be living in peace.

In reality, where these ideal conditions don't apply, residents of mentioned areas, but also citizens in general, can be relaxed, as the mentioned ranges are irrelevant.

shot_fired.jpgShots fired aftermath, screenshot / PIXSELL

„It's worth noting the cannon is modified, and it can't fire live ammo“, warned Zagreb TB official, a bit puzzled why I would even ask her for the potential range of a weapon overlooking Croatian capital from Fort Lotrščak. But, as I'm sure any researcher will confirm, scientific curiosity often calls for asking controversial questions.

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

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