Kecskemét City Hall

Kecskemét

[kech-ke-meyt]

Kecskemét (kɛtʃkɛme:t), (approximate pronunciation, Kech-ke-mate), 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.

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 oppodoim, 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 1870's 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 in the current train station.

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 planing 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.

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.

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.)

Shopping malls

The go up

  • Tesco Izsáki út (Target Center) hipermarket
  • OBI Izsáki út (Target Center)
  • Target Center Shopping centre

City parts of Kecskemét

Kecskemét is divided into 21+1 sections.

  • Belváros (Downtown)
  • I. Árpádváros
  • II. Máriaváros
  • III. Széchenyiváros
  • IV. Bethlenváros
  • V. Rákócziváros
  • VI. Erzsébetváros
  • VII. Kossuthváros
  • VIII. Hunyadiváros
  • IX. Szent István-város (Műkertváros, Szolnoki-hegy)
  • X. Szent László-város (Rendőrfalu)
  • 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

  • City Hall
  • "Cifra Palota"
  • Old Church
  • Synagogue
  • József Katona Theatre

Gallery

Sister cities

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 .

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

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

External links

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