A Timeless Sentinel: My Visit to Zagreb’s Lotrščak Tower

Let me take you on a journey through one of Zagreb’s most iconic landmarks, the Lotrščak Tower. Standing proudly on the edge of the Upper Town, it watches over the entire city, reminding us of its presence with the daily noon firing of the Grič Cannon​​. This tradition dates back to a legend where the cannon’s fire disrupted a lunch of a Pasha in a nearby Turkish camp, leading to the Turks aborting their siege of Zagreb​​.

The story of Lotrščak begins with King Bela IV of Hungary and Croatia, who, in his Golden Bula document of 1242, granted Gradec, now part of Zagreb, the status of a free royal city. This honor came with the obligation for its citizens to fortify the town with walls and towers for protection​​. It took twenty years to complete these fortifications, culminating in 1266 with the construction of Lotrščak Tower, initially built to defend the city’s southern entrance​​.

Initially, the tower was named after the “thieves’ bell,” which rang in the evenings before the city gates were closed​​. The tower’s appearance has evolved over the centuries, with significant changes made during the romantic revival of medieval buildings in the mid-19th century, adding two more floors and a polygonal wooden fire lookout​​.

The tower’s walls are nearly two meters thick and constructed from irregular stone. An interior spiral staircase, half inside and half outside the building, was added for better access between floors​​. Over the years, the tower has served various purposes, including as a trading warehouse, a café, and even residential space​​.

In the late 19th century, the city administration decided to install a cannon that would fire every day at noon, helping the city’s church bell ringers to synchronize their clocks​​. The Grič Cannon, located at the top of the tower, was first fired on New Year’s Day in 1877. It fell silent during World War I but resumed its daily ritual in 1927 from the south window of the fourth floor, where it still operates today​​.

Presently, Lotrščak Tower is part of the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery. Inside, visitors can enjoy a photographic exhibition about Zagreb. For me, the highlight of the tower is its small observation deck, offering a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of almost the entire city​​. Standing there, gazing out over Zagreb, I was struck by the tower’s rich history and its enduring role as a guardian of the city.

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of discoverzagreb.com. I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and discoverzagreb.com, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

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