Synchronize Clocks

The Noon Cannon Shot

  • Photo: Aleksey Zaitsev (Look at Vladivostok)
  • Text: Vasiliy Avchenko

In 2016, a glorious naval military tradition returned to Vladivostok – the daily cannon shot.

In St. Petersburg, where this custom was put in place in 1704, the shot was made from one of the bastions of Peter and Paul fortress. The history of the midday shot in Vladivostok originates in the 19th century. After a long break, the tradition returned in 1970: the shot was fired from a 100-mm cannon on “Tiger Hill.” In 1996, the cannon, which had become one of the symbols of the city, was silenced. Then museum "Vladivostok Fortress" picked up the baton and since 1997 the shot was delivered from a 45-millimeter signaling cannon on the territory of the battery "With No Name." In 2008, the shots stopped again: very few of the necessary type of charges were produced, and the little museum lacked sufficient means to purchase them. After that, the cannon sounded only on holidays.

Concerned citizens gathered signatures and petitioned various authorities in defense of the tradition. Vladivostok, after all, was founded in 1860 as a military post, and remains today as the main base of Russia’s Pacific Fleet. In 2010, it received the status “City of Military Glory.” The forts and batteries of Vladivostok Fortress, despite having lost their defensive significance, are a unique feature of the city and continue to be popular tourist and sightseeing destinations.

Ultimately, it was decided to restore the tradition, and on June 12, 2016 – Russia Day – they fired the first shot.

The initiative, headed by the public figure Konstantin Bogdanenko, gathered more than 17,000 signatures in support of restoring the tradition.

Now the daily artillery salute is given at noon from a 122-millimeter howitzer on pier 33 located in the heart of Vladivostok on the Ship Embankment. Large anti-submarine ships of the Pacific Fleet are "assigned" to this wharf.

The cannon is not only an opportunity to synchronize watches. It is a touch of history and Vladivostok’s calling card - not just a free port, but also a naval fortress.

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