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Its building started in 1780 and lasted 10 years. The total area of the fortress was 3.89 km². Neighbour areas could be inundated. The fortification was designed in the tradition of Sébastian le Prestre de Vauban. During peace it held 5655 soldiers.
The fortess was never active during wartime. During second half of 19th century it was used as a prison.
During World War I, the fortress was used as a prisoner-of-war camp. Gavrilo Princip, who started the war by assassinating Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife, died of tuberculosis there in 1918.
Terezín During World War 2
Main article: Concentration camp Theresienstadt
During WW2 Gestapo set up Terezín as concentration camp for Jews. About 144,000 of Jews were sent to Theresienstadt. About a quarter of them (33,000) died in Theresienstadt, mostly because of the appalling conditions (hunger, stress, diseases, typhus epidemic at the very end of war). About 88,000 were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. When the war finished, there were a mere 19,000 survivors.
After the war was over, Theresienstadt was resurrected as Terezín, still having military garrison. The army left the city in 1996, with a negative impact on the local economy. Terezín is still trying to decouple from its military past and become a modern, vibrant town. During floodings in 2002 the city was damaged considerably (see pictures).
Terezín itself is noted for its production of furniture and knitwear as well as for manufacturing.