The Zagreb Observatory
The Observatory at Popov Toranj (Priest’s Tower) in Zagreb’s Upper Town (Opatička Street 22) was founded through the initiative of the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences, while the City Council provided premises at Popov Toranj for the Observatory’s needs and approved funding for building renovation and installation of the astronomical telescope and dome. The Observatory was officially opened on the 5th December 1903. Oton Kučera, the Observatory’s first director, described its main functions as follows:
“Our astronomical observatory has a two-fold purpose: 1) to contribute with its instrument resources and labor force to the advancement of the science itself, and 2) to disseminate, especially among the Croatian intelligentsia and the youth, the results of that most exalted, beautiful and accomplished natural science, and become a hub for all of the Croatian people who are interested in that science.”
The international renown of the Observatory received a boost after the Heidelberg astronomer August Kopff named a newly discovered planetoid Nr. 589 (spotted in 1906) „Croatia“ in honour of the opening of the Observatory.