Town of Kecskemét

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"Kecskemét is called the 'Hírös Város' (Famous Town) in the Great Hungarian Plain"

The prophetical character of the Hungarian poetry, Sándor Petőfi called Kecskemét so in the 19th century and this attribute continues to live nowadays as well. But why could this nice town located in the middle of Hungary keep its honourable title for several centuries? Because it can live in perfect harmony together with the memories of the past, the historical traditions and the developments facing the present and the future.  Excellent infrastructure, busy economy, attractive, protected nature, creative people of great knowledge and steadfast character. These are the best characteristic features of the town. Kecskemét is located in the heart of Hungary, in the Homokhátság (Sand Ridge) between the Rivers Danube and Tisza, 86 kilometres south of Budapest. The ancient heart of the town was the settlement established at the meeting point of the trade-routes. In our history, writers, scientists and famous travellers stared in astonishment at Kecskemét: how is it possible that a prospering agricultural town has been established in the sand? This question is answered by the past. Kecskemét, making use of its favourable geographical location, stood pre-eminent among the other surrounding settlements soon as a toll-keeper and market place. Anjou Louis the Great mentioned it as an agricultural town in a diploma dated in 1368. During the Turkish occupation of Hungary the town gave shelter to the inhabitants of the destroyed villages. The first guild halls were established in the 16th century.  On the wide lands and plain of the town extensive animal keeping and shepherding were carried out which became famous thanks to the traders. The inhabitants of Kecskemét  redeemed themselves from the manorial dependence in the first half of the 19thth century the population of the farms increased so that half of the inhabitants lived on farms at the turn of the century. The prosperous agriculture and the location of industry following the compromise made the great development of the town possible in the second part of the 19th century: the former market town, having a decorative main square with secessionist palaces, could go on its way to become a big town. The grapes- and fruit culture in Kecskemét has been consciously developed for more than 100 years owing to the farmers' activity and their great plantations.  As a result, the former market town became a big town with stately public buildings by the turn of the century. The central geographical location of the town, which had survived the tempest of the history, was a great advantage in development from the 1960s: owing to the establishment and building of industry and public buildings, the number of the inhabitants has increased rapidly, and as a result of the establishment of art workshops, it has become a big town rich in cultural values. Earlier the economic structure of Kecskemét was characterized by the agriculture and the processing industry related to the agriculture (tinned food industry) and trading. Since 1950 Kecskemét has been the chief town of Bács-Kiskun County, it has 108 thousand inhabitants, and it is a dynamically developing industrial, commercial and cultural centre. The motorway M5 - finished in 1998 and connecting Kecskemét into the European road-system - has a great role in increasing the importance of the town in the area and in the whole country. World-famous workshops of music, art and animation, unique collections and well-known scientific institutions can be found in the town as well. Their aim is to introduce and protect the artistic and cultural values of the town. Besides, Kecskemét is waiting for its visitors with several festivals year by year.


Sights

The City Hall

The City Hall registered as the pearl of secession can be found on the Main Square. It was built between 1893-1897 according to the design of the architects Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. The City Hall is one of the best-known buildings of Kecskemét, and a monument visited by the most tourists. You can hear the carillon on the facade of the building since 1983 playing the works of Kodály, Erkel, and Beethoven every hour. Its outside walls are decorated with the majolica of Zsolnay, which can be seen on other buildings in the town as well. In the Ceremonial Hall the paintings were made by the famous Hungarian painter Bertalan Székely.

The Franciscan Church

Opposite the Town Hall you can find the oldest architectural relic of Kecskemét, the Franciscan Church built in the 14th century; the locals call it the Church of Friars. Originally it was built in Romanesque style and after several reconstructions it has gained its current Baroque character. A Calvary was set up at the outer wall of fit. From the point of view of religious history it is important to note that it was used both by Catholics and Protestants until 1564.

The Theatre

The Neo-Baroque building of the theatre built for the Millenium of the country was named after the famous dramatist, native of the town, József Katona, who was the writer of the first Hungarian national drama. Its reminiscene of the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) in Budapest is not coincidental: they were both built by the plans of the famous Vienna-architects, Hellmer and Fellner. It is called by the locals as jewellery box.

The Column of the Holy Trinity

In front of the Theatre the Column of the Holy Trinity reminds us of the epidemic of Black Death that took a heavy toll on the population. The statue made of sandstone in 1742 is decorated with the figures of Saint Sebastian, Saint Roch, Saint Elisabeth of the House of Árpád and Saint Steven.

The Calvinist Church

At the end of the promenade of Kéttemplomköz we find the Calvinist Church built in early Baroque style in the 1680s, the only stone church in the region during the Turkish occupation. The curiosity of the Main Square is that almost all denomination's church can be found there, which is unique in the country.

The New College

Opposite the Calvinist Church is the New College erected in 1912. The palace was built in the style of Art Nouveau, decorated with Transylvanian motives. It is used as the Primary and Secondary Grammar School of the Calvinist College.

The Cifrapalota (Ornamented Palace)

There are two famous buildings on the right of the New College: one of them is Cifrapalota (Ornamented Palace) (Géza Márkus 1902), a unique piece of architecture, known as the masterpiece of Art Nouveau with its wonderful „waving" walls, shining roof tiles and ceramic ornaments of plants and animals.

The Synagogue

The other building opposite the New College is the former synagogue built in Moorish-Romantic style.

The Big Catholic Church

The determinative building of the Main Square is the Big Catholic Church, which was built between 1774-1806. Its tower was ravaged by fire and earthquake. It is the biggest late Baroque styled cathedral on the Great Plain. Its bell is 2400 kg; you can reach its 74 m tall tower on 94 steps. century. Then they began to divide the lands of the town into lots and the first farms were established. In the second half of the 19

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