Komárno

Published: 29.4.2010
Komárno belongs, with its number of inhabitants (approx. 40000) among the first twenty biggest towns in Slovakia.

As far as places of interest are concerned, it is, for instance, preserved citadel from time period, when the Turks endangered Europe, further, many historical buildings and monuments, reminding famous natives, thermal swimming pools or frontier bridge over Danube-river, leading to Hungarian Komárom. So, Komárno belongs to the oldest towns of Slovakia. The community was established at mouth of Váh ( the longest Slovak river) with big Danube-river. However, nobody knows exactly, where this confluence was situated. Historical title of Váh-river („vagus“ means, from Latin, unsettled or straying) as the river, very often changed its basin, especially in lower positions. Nevertheless, it is a fact that in neighbourhood of today´s town, there is proved, from archaeological point of view, Roman camp Kelemantia, one of supporting points against Barbars – „limes romanus“.

 

History of the town

 The history of the town started since 1265. At that time, King Bela IV. granted the community town´s laws. Historical castle was placed in the island at rivers´ tributary, protecting Central European space against attacks of Tartars. Later, in the middle of 16th century, when Turks´ offensives hit Budin and Esztregom, Hungarian metropolis, the castle was re-built to medieval citadel . The fortification was, in the course of centuries, reinforced , improved and reconstructed, in accordance with latest European requests ( especially from Italy) of citadel builders. So, unique pentagon defence system was created, consisting of several citadels, prothesis polygonal bastions, earthworks, water ditches and other objects, which served military purposes nearly till the end of 20th century. Despite the fact that a part of historical fortification was destroyed  by repeated hard earthquakes at the end of 18th century, and some elements had to be stepped back, the development of the town as well as railway traffic lines continued. At present, this complex presents the greatest bastion fortification in Central Europe.

Since the end of 20th century, some barracks objects, entry gates and bastions undergone consequently essential reconstruction works. The buildings revive, thanks to museum expositions ( inside one bastion,  a lapidarium, including the biggest collection of stone Roman monuments in Slovak territory is to be found ), galleries, and business as well as restaurant establishments. Komárno obtained its privileges of free King´s town in 1745 from Empress Mary Therese. At that time, it was the fifth biggest town in Hungary ( 10000 inhabitants approx.). Anyway, a port , connected with wood trade and agricultural products business from fertile region of Žitný ostrov ( Rye Island) and Danube plain-land, became an important bearer of economic development. Since 19th century, even dockyards joined this economical boom. Within second part of 20th century, the docks became even the greatest inland manufacturer of river-navy vessels. When the bridge over Danube-river was terminated (at the end of 19th century), so the traffic, transport and business importance of the town continued to grow. At that time period, Komárno joined „Ujszony“ outskirts, situated along right bank of Danube. However, their connection lasted for twenty years only, as the quarter was, after 1918, again divided with a border, whereas Hungarian outskirts let its name – i.e. Komárom ( 20 000 inhabitants).Historical Danube bridging over is interesting with a fact, that  first field of Slovak  part  could be open , in order to enable the access big vessels into dockyards on Elizabeth Island.

 

Places of interest

Many important historical personalities  were born in the town. Let´s remember several names, such as: Ladislao Pohrobek , Hungarian and Bohemian King (1440-1457), Mor Jokai (1825-1904), Hungarian writer, Franz Lehar (1870-1948) , music composer and others. These personalities are remembered not only with monuments or museum expostions, but also with regular music festival and similar cultural events.Along central foot-passenger zone, there are to be found interesting buildings, from architectonical point of view. So, Town Hall building with its typical tower , constructed in Neo-Renaissance style, became characteristic symbol of the town. In front of this building, you can find interesting St.Trinity Columns of 17th century. Not far from there, former Jokai Cultural Palace Club is placed, today seat of Danube Museum, presenting history  of Komárno and standard of life of local inhabitants in past.  Next exposition, dedicated to important events in the town, (since 1848 up to now) as well as famous natives are to be found in Zichy Palace.Just in the neighbourhood, completely new attraction allures the tourists. It is many-coloured European Courtyard. A group of architects built  there ( at  Millenium break) new, more than one hectare great quarter, aimed at tourists, full of shops, galleries and caffees, where each building imitates different building styles in 45 regions of the whole Europe. So, the square with small park and fountain in the middle, is added with sculptures of historical monarchs. As far as another interesting buildings are concerned, it is worth to visit so called Officers´ Pavillon, constructed in English Neo-Gothic style . In past, the building served originally as lodging place for Emperor´s officers with their families. Holy Virgin Orthodox Church, presents rich collection of artistic objects, let there by refugees from Balkan , mainly from Serbia, escaping in front of Turks troops. Moreover, another Church buildings, including Jewish synagogue, refer to multi-cultural character of the town, having high share of Hungarian speaking inhabitants. Open thermal swimming pool belongs also to tourist attractions. The basin is supplied with two springs, with water temperature reaching 40° C. In outskirts, along  banks of Váh-river, you can find dockyard, including water sports area. Not far from there, close to the community of Iza, you can find Kelemantia nature museum, containing finding excavations from Roman time period, arranged to national cultural monuments. Another thermal swimming pool, Patince, situated in distance of 13 kms from Komárno, is also very popular . You can meet there several nature reservations, in meadow forests´ localities, where scarse sorts of birds are to be appeared.

Text: Jiří Výborný

Photo: author and flickr.com

Translation: J. Jonáš

 

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