When the walls around the city were built in the 13th ct, this three-floor tower, 30 metres high and with walls which are 195 cm thick, was also built as part of the city’s defensive system against the Tatars. Its loud bells warned of fires and storms, and also signalled when the door to the city would be closed at night. In the beginning this building was known as the Tower of Dverce – because one of the gates to the city, Dverce, was located next to the tower up until the 19th ct.
The top floor is home to the loudest symbols of the city: the Grič Cannon. The cannon fires every day exactly at noon, so it’s guaranteed to make you flinch if you’re in the centre around midday. You don’t have to worry for your safety, though; it doesn’t shoot actual cannon balls.
Originally, the cannon was used to give a signal and harmonize the bell-ringers of the city’s many churches. The cannon was first fired on the 1st of January 1877 from the building on the Strossmayer promenade and later it was moved to its present-day location.
There are two legends as to why the cannon is shot at noon, but I’ll mention the more interesting one because it tells the story about battles and conquerors in the old days when the Ottoman Empire was threatening to conquer Zagreb and there was an Ottoman camp on the other side of the Sava River. One day, the cannon was fired exactly at noon into the camp and it hit the rooster which the chef was carrying to serve to the Pasha, destroying all the tents in the camp. The Pasha saw this as an ill omen and decided that he wouldn’t attack Zagreb.
Today the Tower is open to the public and houses a gallery and a gift shop.
You can visit Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. or Sat – Sun 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., and, if the weather’s ok, you should definitely climb to the top and get a breathtaking view of Zagreb’s panorama.
Make sure to wander along the beautiful Strossmayer Promenade, one of the most romantic places in Zagreb, which also has some pretty magnificent views of the Lower Town.
Strossmayerovo šetalište 9, Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4851 768