These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Komárno history

 photo: Ján Svrček

Komárno is one of the oldest towns in Slovakia. It has been settled continuously since the early Bronze Age.

The Romans built a military camp here in the 2nd century, but were pushed out by nomadic Avar tribes in the 4th century. Hungarian tribes took over in the 10th century and built the town’s first castle. King Belo IV gave Komárno municipal rights in 1265.

The castle became the focus of the Hungarian Kingdom’s anti-Turk defence system. Constructed between 1546 and 1557, the remains of the Komárno defence system are today the largest bastion fortification in central Europe. It defended the city well: the Turks never conquered the city, although they did manage to burn it to the ground in 1529 and 1594. The fortification system can today be traced on foot in little over an hour. The sixth bastion, north-east of the train station, has a museum, night club and restaurant. It was reconstructed in 1991.

Komárno was granted the status of a free royal borough by Empress Maria Theresa in 1745. At the time, Komárno was the fifth largest city in the Hungarian Kingdom with 10,000 inhabitants. The economy was based on trade and crafts, ship-building, and a haulage system whereby boats were pulled upstream by teams of horses on the river bank. Komárno supplied the Royal Court with fish from the 16th century.

Natural disasters were frequent: an earthquake damaged the largest structures in 1763; a large chunk of the town and 19 boats were destroyed in a furious storm on September 17, 1848; major floods wreaked havoc in 1800, 1876 and 1880; and plague outbreaks were also common.

Komárno became part of Czechoslovakia in 1920 when the Treaty of Trianon divided the city in half at the Danube. On the Hungarian side of the river is the town Komárom (population 19,600).

Some 40,000 people live in Komárno today. The main sites - besides Euro Place and the fortification system - are the baroque Serbian Orthodox Church on Palatinova ulica, and the György Klapka square, named after the general who led the 1848 anti-Habsburg revolt. His statue at the centre of the square is decorated with flowers every March 15 by locals and by visitors from Hungary.

*Source: The Slovak-Austrian-Hungarian Danubeland, 1st edition.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2002.

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