Gornjogradkse Coprnice: Witch Towers from Zagreb

Gornjogradske coprice/Facebook

April 5, 2022 – Explore Gornjogradkse cornicea walking tour that tells the story of the dark side of Zagreb’s history.

Croatia’s response to the Salem witch trials, the 17th century witch hysteria had also made its way to the upper town of Zagreb. We briefly covered the history of the Zagreb witches in this 2018 article, but to sum it up, every woman accused of doing harm was considered a witch. Known as “coprnice” (meaning “witch” or “sorcerer”), these women were blamed for all misfortunes, from frost and hail to various diseases. This was followed by a trial in the city court, with the accused witch being arrested, imprisoned and subjected to cruel investigations, during which she was tortured, until she confessed who she was and who were his partners in crime.

The legends of this historic event are now told and re-enacted on the streets of Old Town Gradec and Tuškanac Park, by Zagrebačke gornjogradske coprnice – the historic walking tour based on true stories about women who were accused and prosecuted for witchcraft – and the setting for the executions of witches in novels written by the most popular Croatian writer, Marija Jurić Zagorka.

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Photo: Gornjogradske coprnice/Facebook

Ideal for adults and children, the tour is an interactive experience that includes both storytelling and acting, with costumes and re-enactments of historical scenes in which visitors are invited to interact with the characters. The organizing and executing team includes historians, tour guides and actors, joining forces to bring the dark history of hysteria, crime and magic to life.

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Photo: Gornjogradske coprnice/Facebook

The tour begins in Tuškanac at the infamous Zvejdišče, the designated place of execution where a large crowd would gather to watch a judge read the charged crimes of an accused witch and announce the verdict, after which the woman would be burned at the stake. She would be taken to Mesnička Street, tied up and with a shaved head, mounted in a cart after having her legs broken under torture. On the way to the place of execution, she was followed by the judge, the executioner and the guards, and the crowd threw stones, spat at her and insulted her.

The walk continues through Tuškanac Park to where a revival scene based on 17th century court records is played, featuring the introduction of Kata Cankovica, a Gradec resident who practiced witchcraft for more than 20 years, and a mysterious figure in a long black cape who casts a spell by leaving a piece of “enchanted strudel” in the visitor’s path, a delicacy appreciated by witches – it is up to the tour guide to hunt the witch to save the group.

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Photo: Gornjogradske coprnice/Facebook

Other historical places covered on the tour include the Upper Town areas associated with witches, from the Stone Gate to St. Mark’s Square. Throughout the walk, the visitor will learn historical facts and legends associated with these areas, meeting important personalities who join the tour, such as one of the few aristocrats accused of witchcraft, in addition to Sybilla the fortune teller fortune-telling, which offers them a chance to find out more about their future.

The tour must be booked in advance – contact This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 091 606 7770. For a price of up to 111 kn per adult and 88 kn per child aged 7-16, the tour lasts two hours and can be extended or shortened, or can use other locations, according to visitors. wishes. A short break for refreshments can be included in the tour, as well as the option to stay for a magical dinner, with costumed characters joining in the fun. More information on alternative routes and price range can be found here. And, if children under 7 want to join, they can do so for free.

The tour is both in Croatian and English (on request), and each visitor receives a small souvenir gift – a magic potion recipe. It has won several awards, including a certificate of excellent quality from the Luxury Travel Guide Awards, for three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018. And according to TripAdvisor, Gornjogradkse cornice is the third most popular guided tour in Zagreb, with several thousand participants so far. So it’s safe to say that this tour is not to be missed, especially during the fall season or on Halloween – if you dare.

Info: meetinzagreb.hr

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