Ceremonial Exercise of the Honorary Protective Combat Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia – the Great Changing of the Guard on St Mark's Square
The ceremony of the Great Changing of the Guard, in which members of the Honorary Protective Combat Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia take part, will take place in the Upper Town in Zagreb, in the space between Banski dvori and St Mark's Church on St Mark's Square during the period between 28 May and 1 October.
Photo: MORH/T. Brandt
The forces depart from Banski dvori and the second group sets off from Kušićeva ulica and along Ćirilo-Metodska ulica.
The ceremony takes place on Saturdays and on bank holidays except in cases of bad weather, particularly heavy rain.
The ceremony begins exactly at noon with the firing of the Grič cannon from the Lotrščak tower. At that moment a musical overture starts up, played by an accompanying band. The ceremony lasts 10-15 minutes in total depending on how quickly the band plays.
Members of the Honorary Protective Combat Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia take part in the Great Changing of the Guard ceremony; three officers in black and white historical uniforms and 26 soldiers and non-commissioned officers in red and black historical uniforms. The honorary formation is dressed in ceremonial historical uniforms which have been conceived as original creations based on the ceremonial magnate wear of Croatian peers and magnates of the Croatian Parliament from the time of the Banate of Croatia, as well as the uniforms of Croatian national and cultural movements of the 19th century. The red colour of the uniforms for the soldiers and non-commissioned officers represents a traditional Croatian colour which Croatian formations wore as far back as the time of resistance to Turkish incursions.
The ceremony of the Great Changing of the Guard shows the daily changing of the sentries which also took place during the time immediately before the Second World War, during the time of the Banate of Croatia.
The idea of the ceremony was conceived towards the end of 1990 and was executed by 2000. A Decision on the organisation of the Honorary Guard, as it was called at the time of its creation, as a honorary formation which would execute duties of protocol for the head of state of the then newly-formed Croatian state was made by the first Croatian President Dr Franjo Tuđman.
The first presentation of the honorary formation, which was called the Honorary Presidential Guard, was on 28 May 1991 in the framework of the organisation of the formation of the Assembly of the National Guard at the Zagreb Football Club stadium in Kranjčevićeva ulica, while on 30 May 1991 the first ceremony of the Great Changing of the Guard on St Mark's Square in Zagreb's Upper Town was performed.