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TECHNICAL MONUMENTS OF SLOVAKIA II.

 

  1. Prešov -Solivar (Eperjes - Sóvár, Preschan)
  2. Hurbanovo (Ógyallaj
  3. Medzev (Mecenzéf, Metzenseifen)
  4. Bratislava - Trnava (Pozsony - Nagyszombat, Pressburg - Tyrnau)
  5. Kremnica (Körmöcbánya)
  6. Komarno (Révkomárom, Komorn)

 

Vladimir KOHÚT

senior editor

SKSI

Vladimír DURBAK

editor

SKSI viceprezident 2003-

 

THE HISTORICAL SOLIVAR COMPLEX

Location: Solivar - part of Presov

Region: Presov

Owner: Slovak Technical Museum

 

HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT

Salt-works (J. Fichtel 17801)
 
Current map
 
Author: Miletz Imre, 1773. (A sószállítási útvonalak)

Solivar came into being due to the merging of the originally Slavic settlement Sol with the Hungarian village Sovar, established in the 11th-12th century near Soľ. A third settlement, Solná baňa (salt mine) was also integrated into Solivar from the second half of the 16th century. The current name Solivar was used from 1927, and it became part of the town Presov in 1971. The place where all three settlements originated is linked to salt springs from which salt, an important raw material, was obtained. The original method of obtaining salt was by evaporation of water from „solanka" (i.e. water saturated with salt), either naturally or by so-called boiling. However, from 1572 the mining of rock salt started at the position of the current shaft Leopold, which became the centre of the mine complex and the „gápeľ" building for the mining machinery was constructed above it. Other shafts were constructed gradually: Vetracia jama (venting shaft), Jama (shaft) Jozef, Jama Mária, Jama John Nepomucky. For some time, deep mining was accompanied by salt boiling in large iron pans. The technology of salt extraction was improved over the centuries and the constructional and technical equipment of salt-works improved as well. At the break of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Sós family who was leasing the salt-works took care of its development, later the town of Presov took over this responsibility. Presov had the salt-works in its keeping until 1673 as a compensation from the reigning monarch. In the same year the royal chamber in Kosice took over the administration and performed an extensive reconstruction of the salt-works complex. Including in 1691, a canal, several kilometres long, from a creek Delsa in Dulová Ves to Solivar to improve the transport of wood to the salt-works. 1752 was a year of change. Salt water flooded the main mine shaft Leopold, and deep salt mining became impossible. This event initiated further modernization of salt mining and processing, which, due to financial circumstances went on until the beginning of the 19th century. At this time two new salt works were built, a general overhaul of the machinery („gápeľ") began; later new storage tanks for the salt-saturated water („solanka"), a salt storage house and a canal system were constructed. The miners' church of St. John the Baptist, and also, in the 1930s the chapel of St. Róchus, were built in the salt-works complex. Other operational and administrative facilities were gradually added. In this way, the historical and technical complex of the salt-works was created. The next stage in the history of the salt-works relates to the year 1925 when salt started to be produced in a new saltworks (New Solivar). The distance between the new and old salt-works is 2399 m, which meant the same length of pipeline was necessary for transporting the salt water from the mine Leopold. It had a diameter of 150 mm. After the new plant started operation, several of the original salt work buildings were sacrificed and demolished because of their bad condition (for instance the boiling plant - Ferdinand) and the spa with medicinal waters was closed.

 
Interior of Object 1 - Gápľa

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENT

The whole of the historical salt-works complex consists of six facilities, mixed with other buildings of Solivar, so these constructions cover a quite large area of an uneven terrain.

Bull-skin bellows used for sait-brine pumping
 
Object 2 - Brine reservoirs

1st Machinery building

(„gápel" - originally German word, mechanism providing a drive for smaller machinery and devicesl

The building holds the mining machinery situated above the shaft Leopold, it is of unique construction and of European importance. It was originally used for mining, and transporting miners down the shaft; and exclusively for the collection of the salt saturated liquid („solanka") from 1752. That year, the 155 m deep mine was flooded with 70 m of „soľanka". After this, the building above the shaft was rebuilt in the current form. It is a one-floor stone building with eight-sided attic roof covering the 9 m area of the shaft, containing a big winding drum of diameter of 5.6 m. Salt saturated water was pumped out with large leather bellows with a volume of 5-7 hectolitres. It was then transported through a discharge trough from the machinery building into storing tanks of the 2nd building.

2nd Building - Storage tanks of „solanka"

The storage tanks are located in this building, which is a bit lower down the slope than the machinery building. The ground floor of the building is of rectangular shape, constructed from large stone blocks forming a skeleton to bear the weight of the rest of the structure. The upper part of the building consists of wooden walls between the stone ribs; these have small windows or gates in the top and bottom parts. The roof consists of a wooden truss with saddle, and has a rectangular hipped gable in the upper part and a three-side hipped gable covered by copper shingles in the lower part. The shape of the roof is complemented by small dormer-windows axially positioned above every wooden wall. Inside, the building contains tanks for „solanka". These tanks underwent several changes in their material and technology, as well as their volume and number. Finally there were 8 wooden tanks with double bottom, and this remained unchanged from the beginning of the 19th century. The volume of each tank is 1320 hectolitres. „Solanka" was transported to the tanks by a wooden pipeline 7 cm in diameter from a collection tank near the Leopold shaft. After a tank was filled a leather plug closed the opening, with a release mechanism in the bottom of the tank. In this way salt solution was discharged via the pipeline. After mining had finished, the wooden parts of the building were conserved, the roof was treated and the building used as a part of the museum.

View of the burned-out tower of Object 4 - Salt storage rooms (salt chambers
 
Southern view of Object 5 - "Klopacka"
 
Back view of Object 3 - Salt boiling room Franz
 
Face view of object 3 - Salt boiling room Franz
 
Northern view of burned-out Object 4 - Salt storage rooms (salt chambers)

3rd building - Salt evaporation plant Franz

A large two-floor Baroque and Classic style building with side wings was built in 1800 to replace the 17th century building. Frequent fires necessitated its rebuilding several times, and the technical equipment was changed as well. The last fire was in 1819. Salt production was a demanding process. Salt saturated solution was piped from the storage tanks. It was then pre-heated in pans for 12 hours and after reaching a required temperature, it was gradually brought to the (19.2 x 9.84 x 0.54 m) evaporation pan. After five hours of boiling the first portion of crystalline salt was removed. More salt water was added every three hours, and the process ran continuouslyfor 12-14 days. The crystalline salt produced was stored on a sloping floor before being packed into crates and transferred into drying chambers where remaining liquid was removed. Salt production was finished in a drying room. At present, part of the building is under reconstruction for museum purposes.

4th - Salt storage chambers

Only remnants of the walls and a tower have been preserved from the original two-floor late baroque building. It had a high attic roof and classic tower with a clock in a middle of the facade. The functional building was destroyed in a fire in 1986 and its restoration has not yet been completed. The salt storage houses were gradually rebuilt and extended from 1572, for example by 1674 the salt storage house was 72 m x 32 m and had larger capacity than required.

5th building - „klopacka"

(Bell tower: literally knocking tower)

A former watch and guard tower constructed of wood with an onion-shape roof is built on an artificially levelled bank in the salt-works complex. The „Klopacka" (knocking tower) consists of a large wooden board (1000 x 150-200 x 30 mm) and an oak hammer. In order to improve the resonance, rectangular holes were drilled or burnt in the ends of the board to serve as sound channels. Knocking was used to announce the start of the shift to the miners; the fire alarm; and was also sounded to accompany the miners on their final journey. Uncommonly, the night watchmen were obliged to announce the time from it during the night. The knocking tower was so popular that in 1765 inhabitants strongly protested against its demolition, in fact they requested to have it repaired and their wish was fulfilled in 1785. The tower of „klopacka" was used as a watchtower until 1914, later it was modified as a bell tower. The latest reconstruction of the three-floor belltower was in 1969.

6. Other buildings

Other remains of the salt-work complex consist of the office, chapel and other buildings of technical purpose.

Wood structure of a wooden shaft with a winding drum in Object 1 - Gápľa
 
Western-side face of Object 1 - Gápeľ
 
Southern view of Object 1 - Gápeľ
Photo by: Vladimír Durbak

PRESENTATION OF THE MONUMENT

The monument is part of the exhibition of the Slovak technical museum in Kosice. From May 29,2001 the new exhibition „History of salt mining and production in Solivar" takes place in the technical part of the salt evaporation plant.

 

ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY IN HURBANOVO

Identification: Slovenskáústredná hvezdáren, Komárňanská 134, 947 01 Hurbanovo

District: Komárno

Owner: Slovenskáústredná hvezdáreň

 

 

Royal Hungarian Astronomical Observatory of M. Konkoly-Thege
 
Konkoly-Thege Miklós (1842-1916)
 
Public observatory
 
Current map
 
The building of the Astronomical Observatory

 

HISTORY OF THE OBJECT

The foundation and the first decades of activities of Hurbanovo Observatory are closely tied to the person of its founder Miklós Konkoly-Thege. He was born on 20 January 1842 in the family of a lord of a manor in Hurbanovo (Stará Dala until 1948). He studied natural science and law at the universities in Budapest and Berlin. In 1867, he started to build an astronomical and meteorological observatory in Hurbanovo. At first he used the telescope of his own production, but in 1878, the observatory disposed of as many as 8 different kinds of astronomical devices. This collection was gradually complemented by other devices, partly of his own design, made in his own workshop. Chronographs, smaller telescopes, spectroscopes, pendulum clocks and other physical devices were made there. In the early 1890-ties, his observatory belonged to the best equipped private observatories in Europe. In 1899, it was donated to the government on the condition that he remains the head of it until the end of his life. That is why it was called the Royal Hungarian Astronomical Observatory of M. Konkoly-Thege. He also established a network of smaller astronomical observation posts in Bratislava, Banská Stiavnica, etc. In 1867, he started to build also a private meteorological station, included in the network of the State Meteorological Institute in 1872. When his geomagnetic measurements started to interfere with the electrification of Budapest, Konkoly-Thege, as the director of the State Institute of Meteorology and Geomagnetism, decided to move the institute to Hurbanovo. He donated the land to the government. On 15 August 1899, he laid the foundation stone of the building of the new Central Meteorological and Geophysical Observatory which was put into operation a year later and became the most important meteorological workplace in Hungary. Temperature, humidity, precipitation, evaporation, soil temperature measurements in various depths were taken there as well as regular measurements of the underground water temperature. He began to do his geomagnetic observations in the 1890-ties and in 1899, the variation pavilion was erected. In 1901, Konkoly donated his entire property to the government under the condition that after his and his wife's death, the land will be sold to landless persons for bargain prices. In 1911, he resigned from the post of the director of Hurbanovo Institute, but continued his intense research. He died on 17 February 1916. After the establishment of the first Czechoslovak Republic, the Observatory became a part of the National Observatory, or the National Meteorology Institute in Prague. Then the Hurbanovo Observatory became a part of the newly founded Slovak Academy of Sciences and in 1954, it was attached to the Geophysical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The Department of Meteorology merged with the Hydro-Meteorological Institute in Bratislava and the Observatory became the seat of the Slovak Centre of Amateur Astronomy.

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE OBJECT

The Hurbanovo Observatory is the only research institute in Slovakia founded in times of the AustroHungarian Empire which is still in operation. It is a multi-storeyed building with a big and a small glass cupolas, connecting wing and added one-storied wings. The small cupola was built in the same time as the summer-house, the big cupola is a newer attachment, built in the 30-ties of the 20th century. The cupola houses a 60 cm telescope. The whole building is surrounded by a park.

 

Bibliography: (P.E.)

Magyarország vármegyéi és városai (Magyarország monográphiájaj Budapest 1896-1912, Komárom vármegye

 

Lecture hall in the historical building
 
 
Konkoly: Magnus Universal
 
The building of the Astronomical Observatory
 
Astrofisical Observartorium
 
Konkoly's co-worker
 
Little American" Observatorium
 
Site plan
 
Konkoly- Töpfler fotométer
 
Konkoly-Thege Miklós and „Magnus Refractor"  
 
Konkoly-Thege  villla. Ógyallla 1899

 

MEDZEV HAMMER-MILLS

Identification: Water hammer-mills in Nizny Medzev location

District: Kosice - vicinity

Owner: Slovak Technical Museum

 

2002
 
1802

HISTORY OF THE OBJECT

Water hammer-mills Nizny Medzev are located in the neighbourhood of streams in the interior and exterior parts of the establishment. The exposition located in the Tischler hammer-mill in the western part of the town at Stóska street is a part of the Slovak Technical Museum Kosice. The beginnings of the hammer-mill production in Nižný Medzev reach back to the 14th century. The town was founded in the second half of the 13* century as a mining settlement on the hills of Slovenské Rudohorie in the valley of the river Bodva by Flemish colonists. The inhabitants were also engaged in the iron production and treating in hammer-mills. The first written reference to Medzev hammer-mills comes from the year 1376, according to which the serf Tegnágol was given three places on the river Bodva by his landlord - the vicar of Jasov - to build hammer-mills. The development of production brought the development of hammer-mills, specialised in final processing of iron goods, agricultural tools, knives, nails, chains, etc. The production was concentrated namely in Gemer and Spis regions (Sítnik, Stós, Gelnica, Jasov, Jelsava, Prakovce, Medzev). A document from 1639 refers to an independent hammer-smith guild in Medzev which production was orientated mainly at mining and agricultural tools. The map of Medzev from 1774 shows 23 hammer-mills, but as soon as in 1779, 49 hammer-mills were there "manufacturing various kinds of iron tools marketed throughout the Hungarian Empire..." Preserved are also the articles of guild and a guild book maintained from 1770 to 1817. The growth in the number of hammer-mills was connected with the development of root-crops production in Hungary in the 19th century, and it was influenced by both the decline of iron-ore mining and serfdom quashing. Thanks to their quality, hoes, shovels, axes and spades manufactured in Nizny Medzev were sold all over the Central Europe, Balkan, Russia, Near East as well as South America. When guilds were quashed, hammer-smiths of Medzev founded various professional associations and corporations. In those times, 109 hammer-mills were in operation in Medzev. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, they produced about 200 kinds of hoes for individual regions and types of soil which differed in shape, weight and name. They were offered by means of catalogues. All products were marked by hammer-smith's trademarks (monograms). In times of the first Czechoslovak Republic there were about 100 hammer-mills in operation there and in 1936, products of hammer-smiths of Medzev were awarded the gold medal at the international fair in Tel-Aviv. After the World War II, the hammermills production was slightly revived with 30 hammer-mills operating in the region. The last 6 hammer-mills survived until the 80-ties of the 20th century when they were declared cultural relics, or moved to open-air museums.

Drawing of a bushel furnace from the beginning of the 19th century (Rempont Z.)
 
Hammer-mill (Antlov) The view of the driving system with metal canal.

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE OBJECT

Medzev hammer-mills represent a type of a onehammer two-fireplace hammer-mill with two water wheels - the so-called overshot wheels. The bigger wheel drove, or rose the tail-hammer (Schwanzhammer), the smaller one rotated the grinding stone. Hammer-mill buildings were built in valleys of the river Bodva tributaries under the uniform principle. Water was conveyed over an artificial channel to a water basins called "tajkh", and driven by a mill-race over a massive launder or wooden body to water-wheel blades. Hammer-mill buildings are one-storied combined structures with rectangular plane, made of stone (fireplaces, chambers, the dam wall and one half on the gable-wall), and of wood, slabs, with frame wall structure (on the feeding side and in a part of the gable-wall). The roofed space of the manufacturing plant is open, only masonry chambers are roofed. The roof truss has a hinged structure, roofs are bolster-shaped and covered by shingle. Originally, a smaller tworoom masonry construction was located near to the hammer-mill where materials and charcoal were stored. The main hammer-mill equipment consisted of a hammer which sheathed end of handle - "tail" - was pressed by teeth of the iron hoop on the water wheel shaft. The handle of 2.5 - 3 m length formed a double-reversible, unequal-armed lever, fixed in one-third of its length by means of a pin ring to the bearing structure. The hammer stroke speed was controlled by a master smith with the help of a simple leverage and operating rod which regulated the inflow of water to the wheel. The water wheel was made of metal with 2 - 2.5 m diameter, while the diameter of the driving gear was smaller, usually 1.5 m. In the period between two world wars, water mill-race casings were replaced by metallic cylinder cisterns discharging water to the wheel over nozzles. Opposite to the hammer near to the opposite wall, fireplaces with massive chimneys are vaulted and next to them, two chambers with blasting bellows and shelves for finished products. Near to the fireplace, there are big hammering and small double-beak anvils and lever shears for forged products shaving. By each fireplace in the hammer-mill, a pair of craftsmen - a master and a journeyman - worked jointly using the hammer and the grinder. They communicated with each other mainly by gesticulation and mimicking. They worked from 3 o'clock in the morning, hammering products in the morning and grinding them in the afternoon. 30 to 40 pieces of hoes or spades were manufactured there in a day. In summer, they also dug fields. Hammer-smiths of Medzev have preserved some elements of their unique culture and language of Mantakes, a German ethnographic group. Hammer-mills born the names of their owners, such as Gedeon, Schuster, Pó'hm. In addition to the above mentioned Tischler hammer-mill, you can find there the Brőstl hammermill on the Golden river (Zlaty potok - Goldseifen), Gőbl hammer-mill on the river Pivring in Humel Antlov valley, Schmiedl and Pőhl hammer-mill in Sugovská valley, recently reconstructed as a holiday establishment of VSZ Kosice. Nizny and Vysny Medzev were declared protective zones as preserved historical settlements. After the World War I, a part of Medzev hammer-smiths moved to the regions of Salgotarián and Bükk Mountains in Hungary, as well as to Banat in Romania, where they brought their unique technical equipment.

Water basin
 
Hammer-mill (Antlov) The overall view from the driving system

 

HORSE RAILWAY BETWEEN POZSONY - NAGYSZOMBAT
(BRATISLAVA-TRNAVA)

 

Identification: Bratislava - Trnava

Owner of the restored station house in

Bratislava: Hydrostav, j.s.c.

Svaty Jur  1840 Szentgyörgy
 

Bratislava -Svaty Jur- Trnava 

Pozsony - Szentgyörgy - Nagyszombat

2002

 

Bratislava - Svaty Jur - Trnava - Sered

Pozsony - Szentgyörgy - Nagyszombat - Szered

1873

 

HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT

The first horse railway at the same time in the whole Hungarian Empire, was built in 1837-1846 during the ruling of the Austrian Emperor, Czech and Hungarian King Ferdinand V. It connected Bratislava and Trnava and was 50 km long. It was a very impressive achievement in the given age. Its construction, accompanied by many obstacles, was accomplished thanks to several capable people who tried to see behind their own time period. Railway communications in then „sleeping" country of an agricultural character with still existing feudal relations were first discussed at sessions in Bratislava in 1832-1836 by progressive aristocracy and first entrepreneurs - members of the Hungarian Assembly politically related to the imperial court in Vienna. At that time, the first European horse railway (constructed in 1825-1832) connecting Ceské Budejovice and Linz was already operated for four years. It was designed by the Czech engineer Franz Antonín Gerstner according to English railways and constructed by the Austrian engineer Mathias Schonerer. The construction of other horse railways was in progress: Praha - Lány (1828-1831), St. Etienne -Andrezieux (1828) in France, Baltimore - Ohio (1830). In 1830s, horses began to be replaced by steam locomotives. Applications requesting licences for the construction of steam engine railways were arriving at the imperial court. The well-know banker the baron Salomon Mayer Rotschild obtained a licence (1836) to build a line from Vienna to Bochnia in Halicia (so-called Ferdinand's Northern Line), the baron Georg Simon Sina for a line Vienna-Gyor, the count Moricz Ulmann de Szitany for a line Pest - Bratislava... During the preparation of the plans for their construction, the baron Georg Wilhelm Walterskirchen and the count of a French origin Franz Dezasse from Bohunice (near Trnava) initiated the construction of a horse railway from Bratislava to Trnava. It was the first as well as the last horse railway in the Hungarian Empire, because all others already used a steam drive. Both aristocrats addressed the Viceregency Council that sent several engineers to survey existing lines and appointed them to prepare the project. The estimation of costs was half a million guldens which were to be obtained by the sale of 2,500 shares. The town Bratislava expected to become more important business centre after the railway construction, so offered to provide necessary building lots free-ofcharge and purchase 200 or 300 shares. A joint-stock company Bratislavsko-trnavská železnica (Railway Bratislava - Trnava) in November 1836. They hoped for a better sale of crop and agricultural products, transport of firewood and transport of persons as well. The line was supposed to be of more than local importance. On January 13, 1837 the town Bratislava handed its application to the Emperor. It asked for permission for the Rotschild s bank house to build a branch railway line to Bratislava from the Ferdinand's Northern Line. As there was no answer, in May, the town sent the district administrator Ferenczy and guardian Franz Schreiner to plead with the monarch... without any results. Fourteen months after its establishment, the company Bratislavsko-trnavská zeleznica organized its first general assembly on January 22, 1838. The assembly issued the report "Bericht über die Vorarbeiten zur Erbauung Pressburg =Thrnauer= Eisenbahn" containing the list of preparatory works according to which the following documents had to be prepared: 1. Trigonometric network from Bratislava to Trnava, 2. Situation plan of a terrain, 3. Line profile, 4. Projects of bridges, 5. Projects of branch lines, 6. Lease of lots near the factory for nitrate production for the station construction, 7. Project of a watch-house, 8. Project of the construction of house with living quarters and workshops for artisans (blacksmiths, wheelwrights, saddle-makers and others), 9. Project of multi-storey building in Senkvice with flats for the railway employees, supervisor and watcher and stables for horses, 10. Project of the construction of granary with fifteen chambers.

Pressburg 1836
 
View of the Bratislava station of the first horse-drawn railway in Hungary from the first half of the 19thcentury
 
Assembly hall of the joint-stock company Hydrostav in the buildingof the
former horse-drawn railway station at the crossing of Krížna and
Legionárska streets in Bratislava

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENT

Prešporos (Bratislava)

Pressburg-Pozsony

cca 1840

 
Bratislava, Pozsony
 
Svaty Jur, Szentgyörgy    
 
Pezinok, Bazin, 1880

The company asked the Austrian engineer Mathias Schonerer, who was the constructor of the first European horse railway to perform the evaluation of the plan, terrain survey and alignment of the line. He accepted their request and stated that the project was realizable. Via the Viceregency Council the company requested the employment of the engineer Franz Otto Hieronymi who worked at the General Directorship of state constructions at the task to level off the Danube. It appointed him as the royal engineer and manager of the construction. He cooperated with other engineers: Gyula Lechner, Franz Reitter, Gustav Rauschamnn, Gustav Perleberg and English Charles Bactge. Hieronymi began to map the terrain, as there were no reliable maps available. He required qualified employees for terrain works, he wanted even auxiliary workers to be able to write and read. The railway line should run from Korunovacny pahorok - coronation hill (Námestie Ludovíta Stúra) in Bratislava via free royal cities Svaty Jur, Pezinok, Modra, to Trnava. Station was to be in Bratislava, Pezinok, Senkvice and Trnava, loading place in Svaty Jur and stops in Rača and Cifer, later stops in Grinava (Myslenice), Bánon and temporarily in Vajnory were added. The town council in Modra protested against the construction of a line through their town, as they were worried about „falling moral standards". (When the horse railway was being rebuilt to a steam railway, inhabitants of Modra offered 60,000 guldens for shifting the rails closer to their town. Their request was refused.) Although a final building permit was granted by the Viceregency Council in April 1839 and the final project was submitted to the company on January 3, 1840, the measurement works started in 1837, and in 1838 more than hundred workers began to construct the line of the length 6.5 German miles (49.449 km). It ran through lowland under Little Carpathian Mountains. The half of the line length was on flat terrain; the biggest slope did not exceed 3.1 %. Despite this fact, constructors could not avoid large transports of earth. Banks were made, e.g. in Grinavská lowland between Sv. Jur and Grinava, earth was heaped up to 8 m near the mill of the Podmanicky family at Svatojursky potok (creek). When a 7 m deep excavation was dug north from Pezinok, more than 270,000 m3 of earth was taken out. The earth was transported by horses to Sisecké údolie (valley) to construct a bank, 9 m high and 1km long.A little shorter bank with height of almost 10 m was created in Hájeckovo údolie (valley), 12 m high bank in Senkvické údolie, the biggest bank was constructed near Cífer: it wa s 1320 m long and 7,5 m high. Earth from excavation in Hrnciarovce was used to create a bank above the valley of Roznava and Parna. The worst terrain obstacle awaited constructors behind Svaty Jur - swamps. Damp unstable grounds and moors into which waters from Little Carpathian Mountains flowed. Hieronymi also underestimated them. The bridge over Novomlynsky potok (creek) (behind Svaty Jur) collapsed within a few years (July 24, 1843), the bridge in Senkvice in a couple of months.. The company expressed its dissatisfaction with local workers and called labourers from Moravia and Austria. Therefore, the most admired object of the whole construction was viaduct in Bánon with nine arches, three of which had a span of 9.5 m. The first layer was of beaten gravel, 30 cm deep and 60 cm wide, on which beams were put. Parallel beams were made of oak: transversal ones were of alder placed in the distance 142 cm from each other. Rails with „eyes" were fixed on parallel beams by nails. Rails were flat, 1.3 cm high, 6 cm wide, 6.5 cm in points with „eyes", 4,75 cm long, made from malleable iron (5.6 kg/bm). Unlike horse railways in the Czech country, a possibility of the use of steam traction was taken into account at the construction of the line Bratislava-Trnava. The line was adopted for such possibility, the smaller diameter of arches was 455 m (240°), the railway bottom as well as span was of English standards (1435 m). However, the top part was constructed only for the load of a horse carriage with the maximum weight 0.5 tone per axle. According to a schedule, the time of the construction was expected to be two years. The first part Bratislava - Svaty Jur, 15.2 km long was put into operation on September 27,1840. Then the construction was delayed due to problems with the expropriation of lots, purchase of materials and speculations with shares. Founders of the company began to sell to bankers in Vienna. The second part Svaty Jur - Pezinok (5 km) was completed only on June 30,1841. In June 1842, the work was stopped due to a lack of funding. Workers and engineers were dismissed. Hieronymi left. The company did not give up, it issued 3,000 shares in March 1844, obtained a financial aid of the Rotschild bank house in Vienna and asked Hieronymi to return. He came back, checked the calculations, measured again and marked expropriated lots, removed damages - a line broken by autumn rains and following frosts near Pezinok, depression of a part of the line due to melting of snow in spring.

 
Francis bridge of the horse-drawn railway over the river Gidra near Bánon
 
Trnava  1880
Nagyszombat
Trnawa

 

After removal of damage, other connections were completed from August 1844 till the end of 1845: line to Senkvice (7.5 km) on October 19, to Bánon (7.5 km) on December 1, to Cifer (4 km) on December, 29. Only the final section of the line to Trnava (9 km) was to be built, and it was completed on June 1, 1846.15 km long division Trnava - Sered was planned later (at the general assembly on April 5, 1844). It contains an extraordinary 150 m long wooden bridge; probably work of the master carpenter Spinzl from Bratislava, constructed according to the system of American Long. This part of the line was put into operation on November 1, 1846, but within two months from the completion of the line to Trnava travelling to Kerestur (Križovan nad Dudváhom) was possible. The decision to use horses as a drive force at the time when advantages of steam locomotives were known was made for the reason to use Hungarian horses and fodder. Otherwise, expensive steam machines and coal would have to be purchased abroad. Fast horses for personal transport were bred in puszta in Hortobar and so-called Steyer horses were used for the transport of goods. The fast horses pulled carriages for maximally four years, Stayer horses for six. Then they were sold to private owners. The horses worked for two days and rested on the third day. Two horses could pull maximally five freight carriages or two personal carriages, for not more than 40 km. They were exchanged at stations. The company owned 118 horses, 54 for transport of persons and 64 for the transport of goods. The actual time of estimated three-hour journey depended on the freight, weather and age of horses. Personal as well as freight carnage weighted 20 q, their maximum load could be 18 q for persons and 60 q for goods. Personal carriages, as everywhere else in Europe, looked like stagecoaches, freight carriages had a wooden construction with two solid axles. The company bought 20 personal and 100 freight carriages. Trains went twice a day in each direction. Tickets were purchased in Bratislava in the pub U zeleného stromu (now part of the Carlton-Radisson ), from the yard of which a train started its journey. The operation of the horse railway from Bratislava to Sv. Jur lasted 32 years, from Trnava for 26 years and to Sered' a little bit longer. Its existence ended on October 10,1872. In May 1873, the first steam locomotive went on this line. The most important monument of the first horse railway is the building of the station in Bratislava. It is one of a small number of station buildings in the world which were preserved in their original state. The station is in the corner of Krízna and Legionárska streets. It was built in 1839-1840 according to plans of an unknown architect in an Empire style, characterized by simple rigid shapes, use of antic elements, especially triangular gables, strict symmetry, simplified composition, typical towers ending at obtuse angle and windows covered by shutters. The constructor Ignác Feigler from Bratislava probably also took part in the construction of this building which, in many ways, reminds us of country residences of the Hungarian aristocracy. It has one floor, middle „risalit", where a main portal was situated, side wings are connected to the portal at an obtuse angle from each side, triangular gables without decoration are situated above them in a tympanum. A high tower on posts hidden in interiors has the clock. Arched arcades of roofed platforms lined a spacious courtyard of the station. Small operation buildings were at the courtyard, such as stables for horses, carriage shed, storehouses and workshops.

Bibliography: (P.E.)

Magyarország vármegyéi és városai (Magyarország monográphiája) 1896-1912, Pozsony vármegye

Pressburg-Bratislava (Media Svata, Bratislava 2002)

 

England, cca 1830
 
View from the courtyard where the platform was located
 
Railway profile from 1837
 
Trnava, Nagyszombat, Trnawa, 1880       
 
The first passenger coaches of the horse-drawn railway were similar to stage-coaches

 

MINT IN KREMNICA

Identification: Stefánikovo námestie 24, Kremnica

Region: Ziar nad Hronom

Trustee: Mincovna Kremnica, state enterprise

 

Church of St. Katarina
 
2002
 
Cremnych, Author: Mercator      1585

 

HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT

Rich deposits of coin metals in the mining towns, especially of gold and silver in Kremnica, were a decisive factor why, in the privilege of November 17, 1328, the Hungarian king Karol Robert of Anjou promoted the mining settlement of Cremnychbana to a free royal town. The settlers and new guests of which were granted rights according to the example of Czech town Kutná Hora. As the promotion of Kremnica to a town was based on it being the headquarters of the biggest Hungarian minting and mining chamber; the king's privilege is also considered as the founding deed of the mint in Kremnica. From the time of its establishment up until the present day, coins have been struck here for almost cca. 675 years. In this context, the mint in Kremnica represents a unique industrial example of the cultural heritage on European, and on world, scale. Thanks to the importance of the Minting Chamber and mint in Kremnica, meant that for centuries Kremnica was the leader of the association of the seven mining towns in the lower Hungarian Lands having the title 'free royal'. The chamber in Kremnica was managed by the count-komes who was accountable to the king. The complex of mining, metallurgical production of precious metals and minting of coins represented the most substantial source of the king's treasure. It contributed decisively to the origin of the only exporting industrial branch of the Hungarian Empire in the Middle Ages. The first known coin having its origin in Kremnica is a silver groschen of Karol Robert of 1329. Not later than in 1335, gold coins, the famous Kremnica ducats, were struck in Kremnica as well. These were the most widespread product of the mining and refining of the Kremnica gold deposits. By the beginning of the 15th century the annual production had reached the impressive figure of approx. 250 000 pieces per year. Particularly after the start of the reign of the Hapsburgs on the throne of the Hungarian Empire, Kremnica ducats spread all over the Europe. They were popular on the market because of their constancy and high content of gold/23 carats and 9 grains - 967/1000/ and their beautiful appearance. Kremnica ducats were the strongest currency in Central Europe for more than half a millenium. The last ducats were struck as circulation coins in 1881 during the ruling of the emperor Franz Joseph I. The first coins of the upcoming silver thaler currency were struck in Kremnica by 1499 when the 'count-komes' was Janos Thurzo. Until the first half of the 18th century precious metals were almost exclusively used for making coins. The mint had its period of its highest production during the ruling of the empress Mária Theresia, when the mint in Kremnica produced a bigger number of coins than all other mints in the whole Hapsburg Empire together. After the liquidation of the last Transylvanian Mint in Alba Julia/Karlsburg, Gyulafehervar/ in 1873, the mint in Kremnica became the only enterprise of this kind in the Hungarian Empire. The precious metal refinery of the mint- became famous for its outstanding quality of work. It processed alloys from mines all over the Hungarian Empire, and merchandised scrap metal as well as foreign coins of lower fineness than the standard in Kremnica. The medals created in the mint also achieved outstanding quality. The first medal proved to be from Kremnica was struck for the coronation of the King Ludvig II in 1508.

Ground plan of the ground floor of the mint from the middle of the 18th century
 
Vista of Kremnica with its castle and mint from 1729
(Author: Rothenfelsi Jeremiás Roth, Museum of coins and medals, Kremnica)

The renaissance medals of Kremnica were made famous by incorporating the work of already well-known engravers and medal makers such as Kristof Füssl, Lukás Richter, Joachim Elsholtz, Michal Sock, Daniel Hailer, Herman and Jeremiáš Roth from Rothenfels. The second very successful period of medal engraving in Kremnica was in the baroque period, and was connected with the work of Daniel Waroun, Hieronym Fuchs and others. The biggest medals in the world, with the diameter of 150 mm, were struck in 1948 by means of a unique die design. Due to the high standard of production, the mint was also the centre for introduction of modern technologies and machinery construction. Even the first known count-komes Leopold had the title 'magister machinarum regis', i.e. master of royal machinery, in 1331. The first known striking machine was Fallwerk in 1565. At that time, the first rolling mill was probably already in use for rolling metal coin sheets. In 1661, the use of the first roll presses for striking coins was introduced in the mint. The most famous period of the mint in Kremnica was during the use of a spindle-striking machine (balancer). Kremnica was the first place where this machine was used for striking coins in Central Europe. The well-known technologist, engraver and medal maker of Swedish origin, Daniel Warou in 1710, introduced it. Spindle striking machines were manufactured in the mint itself and then other mints were equipped with them, too. These machines were replaced only by new toggle lever striking machines in 1833. New modern striking machines able to strike 850 pieces of coins per minute still work on the same principle. After the origin of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, the mint began to strike coins for the new state in 1921. In 1984, the new factory with the capacity to strike 400 million coins annually was put into operation. Until the present day the mint in Kremnica has delivered coins for more than 25 countries all over the world.

L. Ercker, 1574
 
Silver smelting furnace (G. Agricola 1556)
 
Körmöcbánya. Mint in the 15th century
 
Copper ore mining in the 18* century (A Barba 1740)

Production continued from 1995 underthe name Mincovna Kremnica, a state enterprise. Thanks to its huge coin production, this unique monument, the mint in Kremnica, became a world-known phenomenon in the sphere of numismatics, history of art and technology. It has become known by the synonym "golden" Kremnica. At present, there are approximately 80 mints in the world, however; only the mint in Kremnica will commemorate 675 years of its existence in 2003. Its establishment was due to negotiations between the Hungarian, Czech and Polish rulers in Trenčín, Trnava and Visegrad (1335), which were a model for the contemporary association of the countries of the Vissegrad Four.

Ground plan of the town Kremnica with its castle and mint from 1972

 

Ground plan of the ground floor of the mint from the half of the 18th century
(Állami Központi Bányászati Irattár, Selmecbánya)

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENT

The first production yard of the mint chamber in Kremnica with its coining facilities was started in Cremnychbana, an economic centre of mining settlements situated around Revolta Hill. Later, a rolling mill for silver and gold sheets was established and it continued its work until 1925. The buildings have been preserved. The protection of the mint chamber required extraordinary safety measures. The headquarters of the royal chamber of the mint in Kremnica with the residence of its manager - the count komes - was built according to the decree of the king Karol Robert of the construction of the royal house issued in 1335. During the 14th century, a castle was built in a strategic elevation with late Romanesque chapel of St. Michal from the half of the 13th century. The castle was thoroughly fortified by the double circle of castle walls that were strenghtened by defence, living and guard towers and keeps on its circumference. In the middle of the castle, the building of the Kremnica mint chamber, headquarters of royal office and a vault for precious metals, newly struck coins and coins, which were exchanged annually, were situated. Probably at that time, the tallest building of the castle, observation and signal tower, was constructed in the centre of the castle complex. The castle ceased to be the headquarters of the mint chamber in Kremnica. The construction of the monumental church of St. Katarína started around 1400. The church made use of some building remains, and architectural elements of a previous building from the 14th century - the mint chamber. The integral building volumes were preserved in Kremnica castle. They were the visible remains of buildings, which had been gradually built during the 14th century in connection with the origin, and activities of the headquarters of the first mint chamber. Despite the fact that they were later modified, the castle continued to play an important part in the defence system of the town fortification, as a citadel. Always connected to the town with underground tunnels, and later also by staircases leading from the interior of already fortified town. The new headquarters of the Kremnica mint chamber in the north-west part of the square probably originated at the same time; when the construction of the town fortifications were in the final stage at the end of the 14th century; in the place which was wisely planned forthe location of the chamber buildings and its mint. The separately fortified complex of the chamber and its coining facilities existed there in the 1520s and possibly even earlier. The construction of a castle, town fortification, square and a new komes yard in the turbulent 1st century of the mint operation led to the origin of Kremnica. Kremnica was a wellplanned industrial, mining and minting town of the Middle Ages, a unique town complex where basic elements of the gothic town plan were used in an original way. The newly established complex of the contemporary mint gradually comprised all production facilities worked independently from a hydraulic drive. In 1548, the mint had 30 rooms for various purposes, including its own armoury. The preserved production, administration and living premises of the mint are a result of complex modifications of an organism, always developing since the 15th century. The oldest parts are the original single wing buildings of the mint chamber with new living quarters of a count-komes and buildings of gold coin striking facility and a foundry (Schmelzgaden), which originated as separate parallel single wing building with vaulted ceilings. Some of the most interesting objects from the point of view of architecture are the original hall of the chamber of gold and silver, which has a late Gothic cross vault for a central column; and the hall of the original precious metals testing room with a complex eight-part vault, situated above the chamber hall. A hall of the mint treasury with a vaulted ceiling converging to a subtle central column with a roman capital, is probably a result of a Renaissance modification in the16th century; also an extension of the hall, converging into two columns which made an eastern section of the mint more compact. The western section of the komes's yard is determined by a unique renaissance threewing silver coin striking facility, lit by windows on both sides, with vaulted ceiling converging to 10 columns, which are arranged in two cloisters. A substantial part of this has been preserved. Late gothic stone portals, window openings, stone brackets and other details apparently date from an earlier period of the mints existence. Further development of the mint consisted of the gradual build-up of the komes's yard, new additions to city walls and formation of bastions. According to the project of 1736 prepared by the imperial and royal surveyor Samuel Mikoviny a huge building for a chemical laboratory with new technology for gold separation was built near the city walls. We have a detailed impression of the mints appearance thanks to impressive vistas from 1729 and 1742, as well several preserved plans of the mint from the 18thand 19th centuries. The biggest and most radical modernisation and extension in 1882-1890 transformed the mint into a modern factory with modern constructions and machinery. The reconstruction was precipitated by a national financial operation in the state; the introduction of the new currency - koruna. A grand construction project according to the plan of Franz Muráncan could be realized only after destroying part of city walls. In this way, large production halls, coining facilities with cast iron columns, high vaulted rooms of the new refinery and a foundry were built. Machines were driven by steam generators, which were later replaced by the first electric engine which was powered by the mint's own hydro-electricity plant. When a new large coin production facility was put into operation in 1984 in a new location, the old factory at the square became the headquarters for the administration for production of medals, badges and souvenirs. At present, the establishment of the exhibition in the original premises of the historical mint, one of the oldest European production enterprises still in operation, is under consideration. The building of the mint in Kremnica is a cultural monument. It is protected as an integral part of the Reservation of city monuments of Kremnica.

 

PRESENTATION OF THE MONUMENT

As the mint is still in operation, and there are so far no exhibition premises, the mint is not usually open to the public. The information on its history, production and equipment can be found in the Museum of coins and medals in Kremnica, which belongs to the National Bank of Slovakia. Part of its exhibition is the restored castle in Kremnica, the first headquarters of the mint chamber in Kremnica, protected since 1970 as a national cultural monument.

 

Bibliography: (P.E.)

• Pannon Enciklopédia, Magyar ipar-és technika történet (KERTEK 2000) Budapest. 1999

 

Gold forint minted in Körmöcbánya (1678. Thököly Imre)
 
Kremnica, Körmöcbánya, 1800
 
Kremnica, Körmöcbánya, 1835
 
Kremnica, Körmöcbánya, 1890
 
Detail of a historical architectural element in premises of the original mint chamber
 
Kremnica, Körmöcbánya, 1990
 
View of the building Mincovna Kremnica, state enterprise. Present.

 

FORTIFICATION SYSTEM OF KOMÁRNO

Situation: Komárno (Slovak Republic) Built over both banks of the Danube and Váh rivers with a central fortress built in the confluence of the rivers in the eastern edge of the Zitny ostrov (Slovak Republic)

Owner: Army of the SR, Podunajské múzeum (Museum of the Sub-Danube Region) in Komárno, Galéria národov (Gallery of Nations) in Komárno (private facility)

 

2002
 
Picture of the fortification system in Komárno from the end of the 19th century, giving the names of individual complexes

 

HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT

Nowadays the fortification system of Komárno is a national cultural monument. In the first half of the 19th century, it was the biggest and strongest defence construct of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and it represents an important monument of historical fortifications in Slovakia, thanks to its relatively well-preserved features. At present, the understanding of its construction is being explained by studying historical projects and drawings of the former Engineering Command in Komárno (K.K. Genie Direktion in Comorm), held in the military archives in Vienna and Budapest. This Army Engineering Headquarters was established at the beginning of the 19th century and the supreme authority was the Highest Engineering Command in Vienna (General Directorium des Genie und fortifications Wesens, or Directorium Generalis Rei Militaris Architectonicae).

 

ORIGINS AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE CENTRAL FORTRESS - CITADEL

The advantageous strategic position of a ford at the confluence of the Danube and Váh rivers, and also the crossing of trade paths leading from valleys of the Danube, Nitra and Vltava determined the location of the fortress. Control over the crossing and a busy transport centre meant the control over the whole of the surrounding country as well. The first bastion fortress in Central Europe was built on the site of a middle age castle, which was then reconstructed as a renaissance palace by the ruler Matthias Corvin in the 15th century. After the occupation of Budin by the Turks in 1541 the emperor Ferdinand I had to improve and modernise the fortifications. He probably appointed the Italian fortress builder Pietro Ferrabosca, who designed the multiangle bastion system, with the task of upgrading the fortress in Komárno. The builders Testa, Castaldo and Decius are also considered designers of the fortress. Construction started on March 23, 1546. The masonry work was supervised by Giovanni Maria de Speciecasa, and was later taken over by Di Dalmatio Bartolagi. Mathias Dusco, Venzel Cservenka and Paul Puls supervised the construction of the moats and waterworks. The main construction supervisors were: Michael Schick (1546-1550), Leonhard Muller (from 1550) and Francisco Benigno (after 1552). In 1550, Ihon Maria de Speciecasa was the master builder. In 1551, the fortification works were led by D. Castaldo. According to the report of Francisco Benigna, only deepening of the moats and improvements to the earth barriers were being undertaken by 1557, completing the construction of the Old Fortress. The year 1550 is given in the memorial table above the fortress gate as the year of the portal construction. In 1570, spring floods caused such terrible damage that some of the walls fell down. The fortress was built again in 1572-1592 under the personal supervision of the main construction supervisor appointed by the Captain Office, Urban Suess. Other foreign experts: German Daniel Speckle and Italian Carlo Theti also advised during the work. The new fortress, designed, improved, and rebuilt in Italian style was put to the test in 1594 when the Pasha of Sinan with the army of hundred thousand men besieged the fortress for a whole month, but without success. Another important fortification was built during the reign of Leopold I when Nové Zámky fell into Turkish hands during 1663-1664. After this Leopold I ordered the construction of two new fortresses: - Fortress Leopold, situated close to Hlohovec (Galgóc), which was planned to prevent the Turks reaching Povazie (the region along the river Váh) and the so-called New Fortress in Komárno. The first stage of construction of the New Fortress lasted until 1663 when the earth barriers were completed. After this, bastions and curtain-walls of stone and brick gradually replaced the temporary earth walls. The building work was based on previous projects undertaken by the French engineer Franz Wymes, who took into account the designs of Carlo Theti, and used the latest knowledge of modern Italian and French fortification architecture. The construction of the new fortress was completed in 1673. By the second half of the 17th century, the fortress in Komárno was a modern, sophisticated fortification construction of the Italian type, designed to withstand a Turkish attack.

Komarno, 1849, Komárom
 
Engraving of the Old Fortress from the end of the 16th century
 
Komarno, 1567, Komárom
 
Komarno, 1594, Komárom
 
Komarno, 1673, Komárom
 
Komarno, 1839, Komárom
 
Plan of the bastion V. f rom 1875

 

FOUNDING AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE LARGEST MODERN FORTRESS IN THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN EMPIRE

The defence of the strategic position on the Danube during the main military events of the Napoleonic wars of 1800 to 1805, drew the attention of the Military Command back to Komárno. A huge fortification programme was undertaken. During this third stage of the New Fortress brick replaced construction the north wing of the fortress, which had been built of earth, and the walls were given crenellations. Amongst other works, the U-shaped barracks were built in the courtyard parallel with the curtain walls in 1810, and the military headquarters were constructed in the inner space of the fortress in 1815. In the first half of the 19th century, 1827-1839, the Old Fortress was also rebuilt. The original perimeter and curtain walls and (casemate rooms) shooting positions in the walls were preserved. Casemate window slots for artillery positions were built in the bastions. After the visit of Emperor Franz I to Komárno in 1807 extensive design activities began. The plan for the fortification system, originally designed for an army of two hundred thousand, was changed several times before its final execution. The year 1877 is considered as the year when construction of all parts of the fortress system was completed. The map of 1876, so-called „Plan der Befestigungen von Comorn" shows the fortress complex, complete with defence lines and advanced forts, although work at the Igmand fortress, the last component of the whole system, carried on for another year. In the 19th century the Defence Centre was transferred to the circle of strongholds surrounding the central fortress, and the new fortification system, also called the stronghold fortress, was created. It consisted of two parts: the old fortress (often called a citadel) and the circle of advanced strongholds or defence lines. Such an advanced defence line in Komárno was made using a temporary fortress line, consisting of 6 reduits connected by earth barriers, approximately 3 km from the central citadel. The Palatine Jozef led the circumvallation and the line was named the Palatine Line in his honour. In 1839-1847, a defence chain of five bastions of the Prussian type (Werk I. - V.) was built from solid building material, and these formed an important part of the stronghold. The captain Pflugl is considered to be its main designer and constructor. There was a halt in construction due to the revolution of 1848-49, in which Komárno played an important role under the command of the general Georg Klapka. Again the fortress in Komárno proved impregnable. The Prussian-Austrian war in 1866 prompted the construction of the Váh defence chain, almost 20 years after the completion of the Palatine line. The line consisted of six fortification objects (VI.XI), only the first two of which were bastions (Werk: VI. and VII). The other objects (VIII.-XI.) were connected by batteries, i.e. Carnot walls. The main advanced fortresses were the Váh and Danube bridgeheads. Small fortresses of special construction were already built behind the rivers by 1585. In the 17th century they were called St. Michal (later St. Filip) and St. Peter. They were destroyed in 1661 because they did not meet the requirement of that period and stronger defence constructions were built to replace them. It is clear that during an extensive construction of the fortification system in the 19* century, particularly the 1860s, they were rebuilt and fortified in accordance with the new strategic and technical structure of fortifications, and were connected with the central fortress by pontoon bridges. After the revolution of 1848-1849, the fortress Sandberg (monoštorská) was built in the period 1850-1871, based on the plans of the Engineering Command in Komárno. Later the fortress Igmand was constructed, 1871-1877, and they became an integral part of the stronghold fortress. These, as well as the Danube bridgehead (csillagerőd) are in the territory of the Hungarian Republic. The fortress system in Komárno was the largest and strongest fortification construction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The edge of the western bastion of the new fortress bears the following inscription: NEC ARTE NEC MARTE (neither by wile, nor by power). These words perfectly describe the fortress complex, which proved impregnable and was extremely sophisticated for its time.

 

Komarno. Entry of the fortress
 
Complete view of the recontructed bastion VI
 
The Palatínus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
The Palatinus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba

 

ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENTS

Throughout history, the majority of new scientific and technical knowledge and discoveries were, unfortunately, used primarily for military purposes. This is clearly true for the fortification system in Komárno, and it justifies its inclusion in this publication. It is clearly a building which fulfilled its function. The development of fortification elements and improvement of fortification systems depended on the military technology in use at the time, on the development of new forms of attack and defence, and so on factors having nothing to do with esthetical views. The architecture of strongholds and bastions depended on their use. For this reason, the architecture is determined by maximum utility of simple design, focusing on the structure of the construction, which also looks monumental and solid. We can better understand the extent of construction when describing, for example, bastion II of the Palatine Line in detail: the width of the neck of the bastion is 210 m, length of its side is 60 m, soffit 108 m and the elevation is 7 m. The soffits form 145° angle at its tip and the bastion corner has 110° angle. The closed circle of artillery positions (casemate) of one bastion is approximately 720 m. If we add to this number the communication galleries leading through the body of curtain walls, the length of which is approx. 360 m, between bastions, then the total length of the artillery communications network (casemate) in the Palatine Line itself is approx. 5 km. The interiors are made of brick and finished to a higher standard than may be expected from a building of its function. All types of barrel vaulting are used, most usually semicircular and segment arches. The type of vault with lunettes has been used for the shooting positions. Everywhere we can see high functionality and simply constructed elements designed to provide maximum resistance against enemy attack. Materials and construction techniques used are similar throughout the building. Due to high material requirements, it was decided to use a combination of materials. The basic materials were: stone (white limestone from the quarry Dunaalmás), and high quality baked brick and earth for ramparts and lines. These are complemented by pink limestone, used for gutters, wainscoting of entrances and the stonework round the windows. It can be seen in the depth of ruined walls, that a core of masonry (50 to 400 cm thick) was formed from quarry stone (or mixed masonry) which, on external facades, is faced by one or two layers of bricks, or one layer of stone blocks shaped into intrados. All masonry, stonework and other artisan work were of high quality. The construction is a result of never-ending human activities. It united new technological solutions and the style of the middle-ages, not only in the architecture, but also in the vast number of technical and service devices, such as drawbridges, lifts in the ammunition warehouses, fortified railways and pontoon bridges, also many others outwith the scope of this publication. There can be no doubts that this example of the climax and then decline of the bastion system, drawing as it does on all the existing building knowledge and defence strategy, documented the transition of the bastion system to new defence forms, as an increased use of reinforced concrete and armoured cupolas brought fundamental changes to defence constructions by the end of the 19th century. The importance of the fortress in Komárno is due to the fact that we find here fortification elements from the old Italian.

 

Bibliography: (P.E.)

 

The Palatinus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
The year 1550 is given in the memorial table above the fortress gate as the year of the portal construction
 
Old Fortress
 
Komarno. Entry of the fortress
 
The Palatinus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
The retrenchment-rampart along the Vág
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
The retrenchment-rampart along the Vág
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
Drawing of sections of the bastion II from 1870
 
The Palatinus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
 
The Palatinus fortress section today (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba

 

  
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