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The fortress in Leopoldov

THE HABSBURG Monarchy was on shaky foundations by the 16th and 17th centuries. Invading Turkish armies were wreaking havoc on the empire, leaving the monarchy desperate to protect its land.

THE HABSBURG Monarchy was on shaky foundations by the 16th and 17th centuries. Invading Turkish armies were wreaking havoc on the empire, leaving the monarchy desperate to protect its land.

So it began building strong fortresses. When one of them, in Nové Zámky, fell to the Turks in 1663, the monarchy decided to build a new, super-strong fortress in Leopoldov.

Construction on the fortress began in 1665, but it was too late to turn the tide against the Turks. Nonetheless, the fortress proved useful to the monarchy a few decades later, when it was used to protect the town from anti-Habsburg riots.

In 1855, the fortress was renovated into a prison, and serves that purpose to this day.

The fortress has remained the site of some dramatic events. In 1990, a huge prison riot took place there. And just a year later, five guards were killed during a breakout.

This picture of the fortress dates back to the First World War.

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