Fort System of Komárom

The area around Komárom (Hungary) and Komarno (Slovakia) always played an important military role from the Roman Ages. Brigetio the most significant fortresses of Pannonia’s Province of the Roman Empire was established in Szőny (now part of Komárom) in the 1st century BC.

In the 16th century Komárom became a key object for the Habsburg Empire against the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, and the medieval castle was rebuilt into a fortification became known as the Old Fortress. In the 17th century it was enlarged, strengthened and extended by a pentagonal shape fortification called the New Fortress. Both the Old and New Fortresses successfully resisted the attacks of the Turkish. Development of the Fort System of Komárom got on impetus after the Napoleonic Wars, when Vienna was occupied by the French Emperor. The Old and New Fortresses were upgraded, construction of the so-called Nádor-line has started and plans were elaborated to build new fortifications on the right side of the Danube.

The large-scale reconstruction works were interrupted by the 1848 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence. Komárom played an important role in the war of independence being the last fortification which was occupied by the Austrian and Russian troops. After the failed Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence the Habsburgs restarted the completion of the Nádor-line and the Danube right side forts in 1850.

Fort Monostor

The biggest and most significant fortress on the Danube right side was Fort Monostor. The Fort was built between 1850 and 1871, and was considered the largest Central European fortress of modern history. The area of the Fort is 25 hectares with its ramparts and shooting range 70 hectares. The 640 rooms of the buildings were able to accommodate up to 8,000 soldiers. The Fort was not involved in military actions during the world wars, served as caserns, recruitment and military training centres. After World War II Hungarian families deported from Czechoslovakia were temporary accommodated in the fort. Between 1945 and 1991 the Soviet Army used Fort Monostor for storing ammunition, and the top secret base was its biggest storage facility in Central Europe.

Gallery - Fort Monostor

Fort Igmánd

Built between 1871 and 1877 Fort Igmánd is the newest fort of the Fort System of Komárom. The role of Fort Igmánd was to defend Komárom from an attack from the South direction, and also to provide artillery support for Fort Monostor and Fort Csillag. At the beginning of World War II it served as a safe-haven for Polish soldiers and officers and after October 1944 it was used for internment camp for Jews and Gipsies. During the siege and bombing in Komárom the outer parts of the casemates were used as bomb shelters by local citizens. Between 1945 and 1948 the fortress accommodated a screening camp where soldiers and citizens returning home from Western Europe went through a political investigation. Later the rooms and chambers of Fort Igmánd were used for workshops, warehouses and emergency accommodations.

Gallery - Fort Igmánd

Fort Csillag

Fort Csillag received its name after its star-shaped layout (csillag means star in Hungarian). The Fort is standing on the site of the former Saint Peter palisade of the Ottoman era (16th century). The fort was re-built between 1850-1870 at a strategically important point, opposite to the Old Fortress of Komárom. Its main tasks were to protect the central fortresses, supervise or block ship traffic on the Danube, defend existing bridge or possible pontoon bridges on the Danube. The Army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire used the buildings of the Fort partly as barracks and partly as a storage facility. Between the two World Wars Fort Csillag was mostly used for storing ammunition. Like Fort Igmánd, Fort Csillag also served as a safe-haven for Polish soldiers and officers at the beginning of World War II and it was also used for internment camp for Jews and Gipsies. After World War II several emergency accommodations were established in the Fort, later a company was operating in the fort storing vegetables and grocery products.

Gallery - Fort Csillag

Copyright ©: Text and photos by Károly Teleki Industrial Heritage Hungary

Source: 1) A Visegrádi Négyek országainak technikai műemlékei II. Magyar Mérnöki Kamara, Budapest, 2004 (ISBN 963-214-544-5). 2) Fort Monostor – History of the fortification system. 2015. 3) Komárom/Komarno – History. 2015.