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Fort Monostor

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Fort Monostor
Fort Monostor
Fort Monostor

 

Welcome to the largest early modern-era fortification in Central Europe, Fort Monostor of Komárom, which is also a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. Fort Monostor (or Fort Sandberg) was built between 1850 and 1871. It covers over 70 hectares, has a nearly 100,000 square meter courtyard and has a building complex that totals 32,000 square meters, most of which is covered with earth. Its three flanking bastions are connected by a surrounding ditch as well as casemates and linking galleries on both sides. Considering its age, type, size and the quality of its engineering, Fort Monostor is an unrivalled example of Central European military architecture.

 

      THE INVISIBLE FORTRESS
      New exhibition in the Casemate

In the first halls of the art-exhibition compiled of traditional and interactive elements the   visitor  may learn about the artillery system of the Fortress, while in the inner casemate they may get rig ht inside the part of a soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy through an adventure story. Here and there in the outer casemate may appear some defenders or an element representing the presence of the enemy to increase the experience of the otherwise unique light effects.

Yard – Cannon

Due to the increase in the power of cannons, fortifications were constructed all over Europe starting from the 16th century. The walls of Fort Monostor are made of irregular hexagonal limestone blocks. The low walls, bastions and buildings are protected against artillery fire with a several meter thick layer of earth.

Stables

There were 12 red limestone feeders in every stable room. During equestrian events the stables are used as intended even today. Presently only 12 of the 155 feeders still survive, the rest were destroyed by Soviet troops.

Firearms Instruction Hall

After the First World War, the Hungarian army created a firearms instruction hall out of the smaller Eastern Bastion. On the walls of the chamber there are illustrations that helped the officers to teach the soldiers how to properly aim and maintain their weapons. The range, which can only be visited on guided tours, is unique in Europe due its age, rarity and its unusual murals. Tongue-like projections can be seen on the walls, which are part of the gutter system that drained the water from the layer of earth above.

Barracks

The rooms of the barracks are connected by one of the fort’s longest corridors, which is 156 meters in length. On the outer side of the corridor there are niches that provided cover for the defenders against enemy fire and shrapnel. The soldiers’ rooms or barracks lined the inner side of the corridor.

Austro-Hungarian Empire Exhibit

Each room could accommodate 20-30 soldiers and the beds stood side by side in pairs. The rooms were heated with iron stoves. Every second room had a small detention cell. It was nearly impossible to lie down in these tight cells, so those being punished had to spend long hours mostly standing in one place.      

Soviet Era Exhibit

Between 1945 and 1990 Fort Monostor was used by the Soviet Red Army. While the city’s old hussar barracks still served to house soldiers during the Soviet period, the fort was converted into an ammunition depot. For a long time the enormous building complex became the storage place for several thousands of wagon loads of munitions. Almost every room was filled with several hundred boxes, which had been transported along the railway that led into the main yard and then into the buildings by conveyor belts.

Officers’ Quarters

This building consists of a basement, as well as a first and a second floor. Food, drink and documents were stored in the cellar. One or two officers lived in each room. Only unmarried officers were quartered in the fort, the rest lived in the hussar barracks, in their own houses or in the Officers’ Club in the northern part of the city (in present-day Slovakia).

Danube Bastion

This was the center of the fort. Its original function was to protect the Danube, so this is the strongest bastion. In the middle there is an assembly ground, which today provides the site for the fort’s open-air theater. Inside the building a narrow railway with small carts can be seen in many places. This was used by the Soviet army for transporting crates of ammunition, but some sections of it may be older. The walls here are most imposing, and are up to 5 meters thick and 15-18 meters high. The three stories of the bastion were connected by a pulley elevator, whose shaft can be found boarded up at the main stairway.

Latrine

Several round, six-seat latrines were built throughout the fortress. Surviving examples can be found in both the Barracks and Officers’ Quarters as well as in the bastions. The iron pipe in the middle connected the latrines on two floors. The drain leads to the Danube.

Danube Bastion Lookout

On the roof there is a concrete artillery emplacement constructed by the Soviets. This provides a beautiful view of the Danube, both the Hungarian and Slovak sections of Komárom (Komárno), as well as an overview of the entire fort.

Casemate Entrance

The fort’s double system of casemates – or trenches subject to defensive fire – encircles the fort starting from the Danube bastion, winding around the ditch for 1.5 km.  Its inner walls are 10 meters high, while the outer walls are 8 meters. The tour route leads into the interior casemates and goes until the Western bastion. Troops were only stationed in the casemates during battle, in peacetime it was only monitored by sentries.

Western Bastion

The recommended casemate tour route ends at the Western bastion. The bastions of the fort were used for both garrisoning troops and for defense. Besides this, they provide passages between the inner and outer systems of casemates. A section of the ditch can be seen here, while the cobblestone path that heads up leads back to the main yard.

Military Technology Park

The radar trucks, cannons, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns exhibited in the yard provide a sample of the armaments from the Cold War. Next to the Cold War weapons and vehicles, at the entrance to the Bread Museum, there is a portable field bakery made by the Manfred Weiss factory in 1901.

Baking Industry Collection/Bread Museum

These rooms originally functioned as a granary, but now house a joint exhibit of the Royal Order of Hungarian Bakers and Fort Monostor. The exhibit presents the traditions of the Hungarian baking industry chronologically and according to the main regions of the country.

Military History Exhibit

The three halls of this exhibit present the history of Komárom and warfare from the 16th century to World War II. In the museum there is a model of the Danube Bastion, which allows one to see the characteristics of early modern-era forts. There is another model specifically for the visually impaired.