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KOMARNO

Komarno, laying on the South -East part of Zitny Ostrov (Rye Island) at the confluence of the Danube and the Vah rivers is one of the oldest settlements in the Carpathian Basin and has rich history. According to the evidence of archaeological finds it is probable that the town's territory has been permanently inhabited since the later Bronze Age.

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From the end of the 4th century BC Transdanubia was being occupied by the Celts who founded several settlements also near the mouth of the river Vah. In the 1st century AD the Roman Empire extended her frontiers as far as the Danube. Roman camp and the town Brigetio were founded in the place of the former Celtic settlements. From the end of the 4th century AD the Romans were gradually pushed out of Panonia by the strengthening attacks of the barbarian tribes. According to archaeological finds in the Early Middle Ages Avars were staying in the area of Komarno for a longer period.

During the 10th century the tribe of duke Ketel settled around the mouth of the river Vah. He built his winter residence at the confluence of the Danube and the Vah. His son Alaptolma fortified it.

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In the time of forming of the Hungarian Empire this place surrounded by fortified walls became the center of the Komarno County. A castle measuring 850 meters in length was built behind the walls of the fort and near by at the crossing of important land and water-ways a settlement arose. In the earliest document the settlement is mentioned as Camarun (1075), Kamarn (1218), Camarun (1268), Kamar (1283), Camaron and Comaron (in several documents between years 1372-1498).

"Villa Camarun" was one of the 23 settlements, which belonged to the domain of Komarno castle. King Bela IV granted the first significant privileges (belonging only to towns in those days) in his charter of April 1st, 1265.

In the 16th century, during the Turkish expansion, Komarno is squeezed between the Habsburghs and Ottoman Empire. That is why in the middle of the 16th century, under the reign of Ferdinant I, the medieval castle is rebuilt into a well-fortified fort. This old fortification is enlarged and rebuilt again in the course of anti-Turkish wars with New Fort. Both of these forts successfully resisted the attacks of the Turkish army.

In the 18th century after expelling the Turks from the kingdom and the end of the anti-Habsburghs uprisings, due to its advantageous location at the crossing of land and water-ways Komarno becomes one of the largest towns of the kingdom with flourishing trade.

In spite of the earthquakes and many other destructive calamities as floods, fires, plaque and cholera epidemics, Komarno continues to be an important trading center up to the middle of the 19th century.

During the Napoleon's wars the construction of the extensive Komarno fortified system began. Its building was interrupted by the revolutionary events in 1848-49 in which Komarno played an important role as the last bastion of the Hungarian bourgeois revolution. After the fighting the town, destroyed by a great fire and a siege, was in ruins. In the years of Austrian absolution military buildings were especially built here.

In 1870's, after finishing the construction of the fortified system, Komarno became a strategic military base of Austro-Hungary.

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It started to develop again only at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. New iron bridges were built over Danube and Vah rivers, first railway lines linked Komarno with other and further parts of the country, new industrial plants were built also. A town on the right side of Danube, Ujszony was amalgamated with Komarno, the town became larger and gained much needed space for its development. After the breakup of the Austro- Hungarian Empire and the forming of the Czecho-Slovak Republic, state border separated historical Komarno county and the town itself. Part of Komarno lying on the left side of the Danube became the county of the nearby-formed Raba-Komarno-Esztergom County. By territorial reorganization in 1923 this county was abolished and Komarno became the seat of Komarno district.

Claudia Veghova

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 5, No. 2, Summer 1997
Copyright Vladimir Linder 1997 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6

The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.