Fans of everything related to space and its secret – did you know that there is a place in Zagreb that would feed your appetites?
In case you haven’t heard, Zagreb’s Upper Town has been home to a more than a 100 years old Observatory that keeps hosting so many interesting events related to space and its observing. But first, let’s see a bit of history of this amazing institution.
The Observatory was founded by the Croatian Society for Natural Sciences. The premises in Priest’s Tower (Popov Toranj) were provided by the city government, which gave the funds for the reconstruction and the installation of an astronomic dome and a telescope. The grand opening took place on December 5, 1903.
The first manager of the Observatory was Oton Kučera, a major promoter of science in Croatia.
The international recognition of the first observatory in the region was enhanced by August Kopff, an astronomer from Heidelberg. When he discovered the planetoid No. 589 in 1906, he named it “Croatia” in the honor of the new observatory.
Although Kučera wanted the Observatory to be used mostly for scientific purposes, in the end it was used primarily for popular science, which flourished in the mid-20th century with an exception when it was closed during World War II.
The Observatory and the Croatian Astronomic Society made their greatest cultural contribution to Zagreb when they procured the planetarium in 1963. It was donated to the Technical Museum, where it is still used.
In the mid-1980s, the Observatory building complex was thoroughly renovated. In 1992, a new dome was installed, and the equipment and activities were modernized. Today, the Observatory is a gathering point of the lovers of astronomy and natural sciences. It traditionally holds lectures, stargazing sessions, astronomic education, and other activities for the citizens. Its scientific work regarding the physics of the Sun is done together with the Hvar Observatory.