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BRIDGE BETWEEN NATIONS

Greetings from Komárno

IN KOMÁRNO, Slovakia meets Hungary, as it lies almost exactly between the capitals Bratislava and Budapest, 90 kilometres from each. The majority of the 37,000 population are Hungarian speakers, and the Hungarian town of Komárom lies just across the Danube.
Slovak nationalists like to describe Komárno as a hotbed of Hungarian interests, intent on joining a greater Hungary. However, on the streets a much more harmonious attitude prevails, with people happily switching languages depending on the listener.
The town's outlook is decidedly European, as demonstrated by the construction of its Europe Square (Európske námestie). The square, built in 2000, displays architectural styles from many European countries, and is home to an underground shopping centre and car park.


photo: File photo

IN KOMÁRNO, Slovakia meets Hungary, as it lies almost exactly between the capitals Bratislava and Budapest, 90 kilometres from each. The majority of the 37,000 population are Hungarian speakers, and the Hungarian town of Komárom lies just across the Danube.

Slovak nationalists like to describe Komárno as a hotbed of Hungarian interests, intent on joining a greater Hungary. However, on the streets a much more harmonious attitude prevails, with people happily switching languages depending on the listener.

The town's outlook is decidedly European, as demonstrated by the construction of its Europe Square (Európske námestie). The square, built in 2000, displays architectural styles from many European countries, and is home to an underground shopping centre and car park.

In modern times, the town's economy has been based on its shipyards, although redundancies there have led to high unemployment. Many believe Komárno has great potential as a tourism centre, but that remains largely untapped as yet.

The town's location on the Danube where it is joined by the River Váh has made it a strategic location since Roman times. It was an important outpost of the Hungarian Empire from the 11th century, and in the 16th century it was further strengthened to withstand Turkish raids. The town was destroyed by fire while under siege from the Turks in 1594.

Komárno and its fortifications were rebuilt in the late 17th century, turning it into the fifth-largest town in Hungary, which it belonged to at the time. The northern half of the town became part of Slovakia after the first world war.

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