Zagreb – Canon of Grič

Every day at noon in Zagreb in the old part of town called Grič from the Tower of Lotrščak a cannon fires. All those who do not know, foreigners and newcomers, are very surprised and frightened, and the citizens of Zagreb are proudly smiling and checking the time on their clocks.

How did this legendary story actually come about?

At the end of the 16th century, the Turks decided that they would occupy the entire Croatian kingdom. Hasan-Pasha Predojevic was the then Sultan’s governor in Bosnia and also held the title of beglerbeg. He abducted the Bihać city from the Croatian ruler by fraud, and now he has decided to do the same with the city of Sisak. Between 1591 and 1593 he occupied Sisak three times, each lasting from several weeks to several months. While his army was in Sisak, he and his horsemen, who there were about two to three thousand, plundered the villages, killing or taking innocent people into slavery. He sold slaves in the Turkish Empire, and if he happened to be able to capture some of the rich, he would seek a big ransom for him.

During that time, the citizens of Zagreb were looking towards the other bank of the Sava River, as Turks were burning villages. They were worried that they did not have a cannon that could fire so far from Grič. Hasan-pasha Predojevic knew that and he set up tents carelessly and enjoyed himself with the dancers. His army performed the usual exercises. Everything went according to plan for Hasan-pasha. He went to reconnaissance so that he could assess his chances of conquering the city of Zagreb, but he only had this in mind after he conquers Sisak.

The people of Zagreb knew what Hasan Pasha was up to, so they worked every day to bring in as many weapons as possible so that they could defend themselves. So one day, when Hasan-Pasha was not watching because he was enjoying his tent, they brought a large cannon from Vienna, from the foundry there, and set it on the Lotršćak tower. They aimed the cannon at the Hasan-Pasha tent.

One spring day, when Hasan-Pasha didn’t suspect anything and enjoyed agams and begs, and the chef brought him roosters on a silver platter, something like a whirlwind erupted and all the tents collapsed. Hasan, begs, ages and all the others fell are on the floor. Out of fear, they barely got up and fled. Zagreb fired a cannon from Grič! The ball from the cannon took away the rooster Hasan was about to eat, and the aerial swirl that came crashing down all the tents.

The citizens of Zagreb did not know for a long time what effect the cannon had. They only learned this from Turkish captives after the Battle of Sisak ended. The Turkish leader was so scared that he fled as far away from Sisak and Zagreb. The Battle of Sisak interrupted all further Turkish advances, and Zagreb was never in the hands of the Turks.

Since then, the Greek cannon has been fired at noon every day to remind of that famous shot that saved the city of Zagreb.

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