Kecskemét: Wikis

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Kecskemét
József Katona Theater

Coat of arms
Kecskemét is located in Hungary
Kecskemét
Location of Kecskemét
Coordinates: 46°54′01″N 19°41′30″E / 46.90037°N 19.69170°E / 46.90037; 19.69170
Country  Hungary
County Bács-Kiskun
Area
 - Total 321.36 km2 (124.1 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 - Total 111,428
 - Density 336.96/km2 (872.7/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 6000
Area code(s) 76
Website www.kecskemet.hu
City Hall
City Hall
József Katona Theater
Cifra Palota
St. Miklós Church
Reformed Church

Kecskemét (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkɛtʃkɛmeːt]) is a city in the central part of Hungary. It is the 8th largest city of the country, and the county seat of Bács-Kiskun.

Contents

Location

Kecskemét lies exactly halfway between the capital Budapest and the country's fourth-largest city, Szeged, 86 kilometres from both of them and almost equal distance from the two big rivers of the country, the Danube and the Tisza. It is also considered to be the northern of two centres of the Hungarian Southern Great Plain (Hungarian: Del-Alföld) region (comprising of the three counties Bács-Kiskun, Békés county and Csongrád county), with the southern one being Szeged, the capital of Csongrád county.

History

Kecskemét is considered to be one of the most well-known and one of the most interesting examples of development among the Hungarian towns. There have been several typical periods in this development and during these periods the character of the town changed a lot.

The first trace of a human in the surrounding of the town is about five thousand years old. The Sarmatian invaded the surrounding of the town in the first century Before Christ and ever since there have been people living in the surrounding of the town. Some - among others János Hornyik, the first writer of the town's history - supposed that the settlement "Partiskum" of the Sarmatian Jazygian was somewhere here but it is more likely that there was a permanent settlement here only after the conquest. At the beginning of the 1200 years they had been seven villages with a population of 200-300 formed here around the churches, just like all over the country, too but they were all destroyed by the Mongol Invasion. Some of the villages revived at the time of the Cumanian's colonization.

As Kecskemét was situated at an important trading route, it soon distinguished itself among the surrounding settlements as a customhouse and a market-place; one of King Louis I of Hungary's charters mentioned it as an oppidium, that is town in 1368. The development of Kecskemét was mainly due to its favourable geographical situation in trading, and as a consequence a market-town was formed here. Later on it was the economic life of the settlement with dense population that attracted trading.

The time of the Turkish invasion meant a new period of development when the inhabitants of the neighbouring settlements escaped from the permanent fights and later on from the oppression of the spahi landlords into the town that was protected by palisades. Kecskemét was protected from the permanent oppression not only by its natural protection but also by the special and exclusive situation of the town as the town paid tax directly for the pasha in Buda and the town enjoyed his protection at the same time.

Kecskemét gradually merged in the lands of those that escaped behind the town walls and the famous grazing way of animal-breeding was formed in these fields. At the beginning of the 1700 years there were almost thirty thousand cattle grazed on an almost two thousand square kilometer field.

At the end of the 18th century animal breeding started to decline and almost one hundred years were needed for another growth that started in the last decade of the previous century when the vine-pest destroyed almost all the wineyards of the country's hilly regions and its damage was less significant on the loose sandy parts. In the 1870s large plantations of vine were formed around the town that was the economic basis of wine-fruit growing characteristic of the beginning of the 20th century in Kecskemét. This process, formed on the basis of the previous results established the structure of the cottage-type settlement that is still characteristic of the surrounding of the town and at the same time it also resulted a quick development of food industry and trade. This accumulation of capital caused the spreading of bourgeois customs among peasants and created the financial basis for the fast development of the town. It was the basis for the formation of Kecskemét's main square that is admired by many people even today, being amazed by the complex of buildings in the main square built in the style of Art Nouveau: the Town Hall, that was finished in the year of the millennium, the New College that was built after the turn of the century, the Ornamented Palace, the Luther-Palace, the House of Trade which is the House of Young today, the Gentlemen's Casino which is a cultural house today.

This spectacular development was first broken by the 1929-33 economic world crisis, that was followed by the years of the war and after 1945 a completely new situation was formed by the new social-political system. The development of Kecskemét was blocked at the end of the 1950-ies but there were also new resources found. As a consequence of reorganization in local government Kecskemét lost its big territory that was formed historically; several new villages were formed that were still strongly connected to the town but they started to live their independent way of life at the same time.

The other significant change of that time was that for the first time in the history of Kecskemét the town got a significant administrative role, it became the seat of the country's largest county, Bács-Kiskun in 1950. In the special system of the so called controlled economy it meant political and financial advantages that greatly helped the town distinguish itself from among the towns of the region.

On June 18, 2008, German car manufacturer Daimler announced that it would locate a Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant in Kecskemet at an investment of 800 million euros. The investment, one of the biggest if not the biggest-ever in the town, will provide work for 2500 people.

In the 19th century it was already part of an important wine district, and it is still known for its barackpálinka, an apricot brandy.

The composer Zoltán Kodály was born here in 1882. The train station has been built on the house of his birth.

Because of the excellent town planning skills of József Kerényi, the historical character of the city was kept alive in modern times.

Economy

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz is planning to open a plant to manufacture parts for their cars, in the near future, i.e. within the next three years, somewhere near the city proper. The Stuttgart-based company said in a statement it would invest €800 million (US$1.24 billion) to build the Kecskemét plant. This is expected to create 2 500 new jobs in the otherwise economically underdeveloped Kecskemét region.[1] According to the plans, more than 100 000 Mercedes vehicles will be produced in the factory from the year 2012.[2]

Geography

Kecskemét was formed at the meeting point of a large sandy region and a sandy yellow soil, its height is 120 meters above sea level. The territory west of the city is covered by wind-blown sand that is characterized by the almost parallel northern-southern sand-hills and the plain lands among them. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries the pastures were impoverished, at many places destroying the natural vegetation cover and at many places causing movement of the sand that seriously endangered the town, too. The sand that was blown by the wind was later tied up by afforestation and planting fruit and vines.

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Climate

The characteristic feature of weather in the Kecskemét region of Kiskunság is extremism, that's why the region is often in the center of attention. The characteristic weather of the Kecskemét region is continental warm, dry, sometimes extreme. The favourable conditions of sunlight make it possible for the region to produce world famous products of some plants like wheat, apricot, red pepper, tomato, etc. The warmest month in Kecskemét is July with an average temperature of 20.9 degrees Celsius, the coldest is January with −1.9 degrees Celsius.

The early spring and late autumn frosts are frequent in the Great Hungarian Plain. The tendency of frost usually disappears only from the middle of April, and from the third decade of October we have to count on having air temperature below 0 °C.

Kecskemét is in the center of Kiskunság one of Hungary's famous regions. The Kiskunság National Park was established in 1975 to preserve the different species of plants and animals that can be found in this region. It is a so called "mosaic" type arranged national park, consisting of units that are not close to each other which is considered a rarity in the international sense as well.

Demographics

Kecskemét has 107,267 residents (2001). The population is homogeneous with a Hungarian majority. There are a few thousand of the Roma minority living in the city; they formed their independent minority government in 1994. (95% Hungarian; 0.8% Roma; 0.4% German; 0.2% Slovakian; 4.8% other.)

City parts of Kecskemét

Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1870 32,830
1880 35,122 7.0%
1890 38,439 9.4%
1900 46,059 19.8%
1910 52,270 13.5%
1920 55,153 5.5%
1930 58,169 5.5%
1941 63,256 8.7%
1949 61,730 −2.4%
1960 71,226 15.4%
1970 84,482 18.6%
1980 96,882 14.7%
1990 102,516 5.8%
2000 105,606 3.0%
2009 111,428 5.5%

Kecskemét is divided into 21+1 sections.

  • Belváros (Downtown)
  • I. Árpádváros (Árpádtown)
  • II. Máriaváros (Marytown)
  • III. Széchenyiváros (Széchenyitown)
  • IV. Bethlenváros (Bethlentown)
  • V. Rákócziváros (Rákóczitown)
  • VI. Erzsébetváros (Elisabethtown)
  • VII. Kossuthváros (Kossuthtown)
  • VIII. Hunyadiváros (Hunyaditown)
  • IX. Szent István-város (Műkertváros, Szolnoki-hegy) (Saint Stephen town)
  • X. Szent László-város (Rendőrfalu) (Saint Ladislaus town)
  • XI. Alsószéktó (Szeleifalu)
  • XII. Felsőszéktó (Petőfiváros, Sutusfalu)
  • XIII. Talfája
  • XIV. Katonatelep
  • XV. Repülőtér (Reptéri-lakótelep)
  • XVI. Matkó
  • XVII. Kadafalva
  • XVIII. Szarkás
  • XIX. Hetényegyháza
  • XX. Méntelek
  • XXI. Borbáspuszta

Tourist sights

Gallery

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kecskemét is twinned with:

Miscellaneous topics

The name of the city stems from the Hungarian word kecske meaning 'goat'.

The Vice President of the German minority in Kecskemet is Ms Rozalia Neuendorf. Since March 19, 2007 there's Minority self-government of Croats in Kecskemét.[3]

Local regular military unit

The MH 59th "Szentgyörgyi Dezső" Air Base, the only jet fighter unit of the Magyar Honvédség stations in the city.

List of famous residents

  • András Gáspár (1804–1884) Hungarian General
  • János Hornyik (1812–1885) historian
  • József Katona (1791–1830) author
  • László Kelemen (1760–1814) president of the first Hungarian Theater
  • Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, educator, linguist and philosopher
  • Kálmán Latabár (1902–1970) actor, comedian

There are streets, squares, and statues named after all of them in Kecskemét.

References

  1. ^ http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/18/business/EU-FIN-COM-Germany-Daimler.php
  2. ^ http://www.logsped.hu/mercedes_kecskemeti_gyara_az_eredeti_tervek_szerint_epul.htm
  3. ^ (Croatian) Hrvatski glasnik br. 14/2007.PDF (724 KB) Utemeljena županijska hrvatska samouprava

External links

Coordinates: 46°54′22″N 19°41′23″E / 46.90611°N 19.68972°E / 46.90611; 19.68972


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Central Europe : Hungary : Kecskemét
Town Hall in Kecskemét
Town Hall in Kecskemét

Kecskemét is a town in central Hungary and the county seat of Bács-Kiskun county, half way between Budapest and Szeged, almost equal distance from the two big rivers of the country, Danube and Tisza. The city is well known for its secessionist architecture, museums, and for being the birthplace of composer Zoltan Kodály.

Get in

Kecskemét is pretty much equidistant from the capital metropolis Budapest (in the northwest) and the southern university city of Szeged (in the southeast), about 90 km from both cities.

By air

From Budapest's Ferihegy Airport, Kecskemét can be reached in 58 minutes by train from the recently opened Ferihegy train station near Terminal 1 (from Terminal 2, you can catch a bus (12 mins., 300 ft (ca. 1,20 € or 1,85 $) to the train station). The trains from Budapest usually stop at Ferihegy at twelve minutes past the hour and reach Kecskemét at ten minutes past the next hour. A ticket for this train is 1350 ft (ca. 5,30 € or 8,30 US-$).

Kecskemét train station
Kecskemét train station

Direct service from Budapest leaves from Budapest Nyugati station hourly, always ten before the hour. Prices currently are 1460 ft (5,75 € or 9 $) one way and a reservation can be purchased for an additional 520 ft (2,05 € or 3,20 $). The entire journey takes an hour and twenty minutes.

Trains also leave from Szeged every hour, always on 42 minutes past the hour. The trip is an hour and four minutes and costs 1350 ft (5,30 € or 8,30 $). Online timetables [1]

By bus

Direct service leaves from Budapest's Népliget bus station. Travel time varies between an hour and twenty minutes and two hours.

By car

The M5 freeway connects Kecskemét to Budapest.

Get around

The main train and bus stations are located about 10 minutes east of downtown, where most of the attractions are and can easily be reached by foot. If you need to take the bus, Kunság Volán [2] runs the local bus company.

Cifra palota in Kecskemét
Cifra palota in Kecskemét
Synagogue in Kecskemét
Synagogue in Kecskemét
  • Cifra Palota (Ornamental Palace) on the East side of Szabadság square. One of the finest examples of Hungarian secessionist architecture, the building was completed in 1902 based on the designs of Hungarian architect Géza Márkus. Formerly an apartment building, it now houses the Kecskemét Gallery.
  • Old Synagogue across the street from the Cifra Palota on Szabadság square this fantastic moorish-style synagogue now houses the House of Science and Technics.
  • Town Hall
  • Bozsó Gyűjtemény (Bozsó collection) Klapka u. 34. 76/324-625. Features Hungarian folk art and furniture from local artists.
  • Magyar Naiv Művészek Múzeuma (Museum of Hungarian Naive Artists) [3] Gáspár A. u. 11. 76/324-767. A survey of the Naive, art produced by untrained artists that typically reflects peasent life. The collection includes several colorful, surreal or somewhat medieval paintings, as well as some sculptures. The museum is located near the Toy Museum and is closed during the winter months.
Sample from Toy Museum
Sample from Toy Museum
  • Szórakaténusz Játékmúzeum és Műhely (Szórakaténusz Toy Museum and Workshop) [4] Gáspár A. u. 11. 76/324-767. Displays peasent toys of Hungary, some of the more fascinating ones include wooden churches and a wooden pinball game. The museum is fun for all ages. Workshop can be visited for an additional fee.
  • Kecskeméti Képtár (Kecskemét Gallery) [5] Rákóczi u. 1. 76/480-776. Housed in the magnificent Cifra Palota the gallery hosts a history of the city (though with no explanations in English) and several modern paintings from Hungarian masters. Also of note is one exhibition room that is decorated similar to the exterior of the palace.
  • Ráday Museum of Calvinist Ecclesiastical History [6] Kálvin tér 1. Excellent museum hosts examples of Calvinist Architecture, including the ceiling and pulpit from a Transylvanian church, a collection of chalices, an exhibit on clocks, local sculptures depiciting biblical stories, and a mineral collection.
  • József Katona Memorial House Katona József u. 5. 76/328-420.
  • Zoltán Kodály Music-Pedagogy Institute Kéttemplomköz 1. 76/481-518. Housed in a former monastery complete with a wooden tower is the institute founded by composer Kodály. Inside is a small exhibit (the length of a hallway) featuring music books, pictures, and other items regarding Kodály's life. There's very little in English, in fact there's very little at all, and it's probably best appreciated by fans of the composer.
  • Leskowsky Musical Instrument Collection Zimay László u. 6/a 76/486-616. The personal collection of Leskowsky can only be visited by prior arrangement. Leskowsky will take you around personally and show his collection of instruments from around the world.
  • Hungarian Photography Museum Katona József tér 12. 76/483-221. Hungary's only Photography museum is housed in a former synagogue (before that it was a dance hall). The well-restored ceiling features Jewish themes. Besides the photography itself there's a wonderful collection of cameras, ranging from older giant boxes to modern sleek designs.
  • Collection of Hungarian Folk Art Crafts
  • Museum of Medicinal and Pharmacy History
  • House of Science and Technics
  • Zwack Fruit Brandy Distillery and Exhibition
  • Tavaszi Fesztivál (Spring Festival) held every March, usually coinciding with Budapest's annual Spring Festival. Features local art, theater, as well as plenty of music from Kodály.
  • Élményfürdő és csúszdapark [7] (Kecskemét Fun Baths and Water Slide Park) Csabay Géza krt. 2. Open late May to September.

Buy

Besides buying pálinka or postcards, the town is wanting in any souvenirs specifics to Kecskemét. There are several places to buy folk crafts, especially during the Spring Festival in late March.

Eat

Fruits. The town is in the centre of a fruit growing region.

Drink

Kecskemét is the home of palinka (Hungarian fruit vodka).

  • Háry Hotel [8] is situated close to the centre and the coach station and can be easily reached by car, bus and train.
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