The Lotrščak Tower: A Historic Landmark of Zagreb

The Lotrščak Tower, a prominent symbol of Zagreb, stands vigilantly on the edge of the Upper Town, overlooking the city. Notable for its daily noon firing of the Grič Cannon, this tradition has a legendary origin. It’s said that a cannon shot from the tower destroyed a lunch being prepared for a Turkish pasha, leading to the Turks’ retreat from Zagreb​​.

The tower’s history dates back to the 13th century. Following the issuance of the document Zlatna bula in 1242 by King Bela IV of Hungary, which granted Gradec (the medieval name for part of Zagreb) the status of a free royal city, the citizens were tasked with fortifying the city with walls and towers​​. The construction, spanning two decades, culminated in 1266 with the completion of the Lotrščak Tower, built to defend the city’s southern entrance​​.

Originally, the tower was named after a bell known as “campana latrunculorum” or the “bell of thieves,” which rang in the evenings to signal the closing of the city gates. Its medieval appearance is unknown, but old drawings suggest it had just two floors, each with two windows, and a four-pitched roof​​.

Significant changes came in the late 16th century, especially in 1857 during a wave of romantic restoration of medieval buildings. The tower was extended by two floors, and a polygonal wooden fire lookout was added to its roof​​. An external spiral staircase was built to improve access between floors, and the tower’s walls, made of irregular stones, are up to 195 centimeters thick​​.

Over the centuries, the tower adapted to the needs of the times. Facing financial difficulties, the city leased the tower to citizens with the stipulation that they maintain it. It served various purposes, including as a trading warehouse in the 17th century and a coffee house in the 19th century​​.

In the late 19th century, city authorities decided to install a cannon that would fire every day at noon, a practice that started in 1877. The cannon was forgotten during World War I but resumed its daily ritual in 1927 and continues to this day​​.

Today, the Lotrščak Tower is part of the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery, housing a photographic exhibition about Zagreb. One of its most enchanting features is a small lookout offering a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of almost the entire city​​​​.

You can find all these landmarks by clicking this link.

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

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