Komárno

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the town in the Ukraine see Komarno

Komárno is a town in the southwest of Slovakia. It is an important, historical town which is famous for having the largest fortification in Europe. The river Vah flows into the Danube at Komárno. The Danube at this point forms the border between the countries Slovakia and Hungary. The Hungarian name for the town is Komárom.

At first there was just one town, with the Danube flowing through the middle of the town. Since the end of World War I, when Czechoslovakia became a separate country from Hungary, the town has been split into two: Komárno is on the left (north) bank of the river, now in Slovakia, and Komárom is on the right (south) bank of the river, in Hungary. Komárno has a population of 37.000 and Komárom has a population of 19.600. The two towns are joined by a bridge.

People have lived in the area of Komárno for thousands of years. The first castle was built in the 10th century. In 1244 a law was made which said that every merchant who sailed a boat down the Danube past Komárno had to stop for several days in Komárno and unload all the cargo so that people could buy it if they wanted. If the merchant did not want to do this he had to pay a large duty (amount of money) to continue his journey. This law was stopped in 1751.

In the 15th century Komárno had become very important. The rulers and the court of the kingdom of Hungary often stayed there. The fortress was very powerful and they managed to fight off Turkish invadors after the Turks had already captured Esztergom and Buda. The fort was badly damaged in 1783 in an earthquake, but it was built up again because of the Napoleonic wars.

Today Komárno is a nice town to visit. There are many tourist attractions, especially the fort which is on the Hungarian side of the town (Komárom). There are also spa health centres where people can swim or bathe gently in the waters which help to make people who are ill healthy again. Two famous people who were born in Komárno are Mór Jókai, (1825-1904), a famous Hungarian writer, and Franz Lehár (1870-1948) – the composer who wrote popular operettas such as "The Merry Widow".