It is suitable to build a castle on a hilltop, on a rock, but at least on a height. Not so in Rye Island, where not even a slight slope can be found. However, it has a strategically important gate where the Danube and the Váh-Danube meet. The fortress of Komárom protected the region from the Turks and traitors for centuries.

The meeting place of the two rivers has always been key in the life of the area: trade routes crossed here, and whoever owned this place was the lord of the whole region. The Romans and the peoples following them were well aware of this truth, so were our ancestors. That is why our King St. Stephen appointed Komárom one of the centers of the developing county system. This region has witnessed and suffered important battles, but it only gained its real significance in times of the Ottoman invasion. At that time, in the 16th century, the so-called Old Castle, then in the 17th century also the New Castle was raised. Together with their command building, barracks and ammunition depot, these complexes are also referred to as the central fortress.

With the end of the Turkish threat, the fortification system proved to be unnecessary, and the two earthquakes that shook the city in the second half of the 1700s only increased the already high maintenance costs further. This is because the earthquakes caused significant damage to the defenses. Joseph II, our ‘hatted king’ also known for his pragmatic thinking, preferred to donate the building complex in need of restoration to the city, which then auctioned off the individual buildings. At that time, however, no one even thought that in a short two decades, an ambitious Frenchman, Napoleon, would set out to conquer the world…

Napoleon reached Vienna in 1809 and, accompanied by his court Emperor Francis I, fled to the hastily fortified Komárom fortress. Here he decided to create the most modern and largest fortress system of the Habsburg Empire from the existing building complex, capable of accommodating up to two hundred thousand soldiers. The decision was followed by action, and construction began on both banks of the Danube with great enthusiasm, but it was interrupted by the events of 1848/49. The castle guards of Komárom were the ones who, under the leadership of General Klapka, stood in the fight even after the capitulation at Világos. Legend has it that the general kept the soul in the army and encouraged them to persevere with his speeches on the command balcony. (The command building, by the way, is the best-preserved building in the fort.) After the defeat of the War of Independence, construction continued. 19th century innovative engineers enriched the fortification system with the Monostori and Igmándi fortresses on the left riverbank (today belonging to Hungary), which until then only served the existing Csillagerőd. However, by the time the fortification system was completed in the 1870s, it was considered obsolete due to the ever-evolving military equipment.

Even if not for fighting purposes, the buildings of the fort were perfect for the military. Thousands of soldiers were trained and stationed here by the Hungarian and later on the Czechoslovak armies. A post World War II diving training course was established for Czechoslovak soldiers in the area of the fortress, the pool of which could be used by locals with the permission of the commander. For example, the city's water polo players also trained in it. After the events of 68, Soviet comrades moved in here as well, and the townspeople were, of course, expelled from the fort. Some reports state that the trainer’s pool was used for pickling vegetables. Until 1999, the Soviets operated the largest weapons depot of Czechoslovakia within the walls of the fortress. Therefore, the base had to be kept so secret that the fortress could not be marked on maps either. Dungeons under the buildings were first carefully filled with garbage and then the individual rooms were walled up. Many of them have not been cleaned up to this day.

After the change of the regime, and until the turn of the millennium, the Slovak army used the individual buildings. Since then, the fortification system has returned to the city's possession, and the building complex, once considered the largest fortress in Europe, is undergoing restoration and preservation work more or less spectacularly.

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