Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Automation,

Kecskemét College,
H-6000 Kecskemét Izsáki út 10, Hungary

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Kecskemét is situated in the middle of Hungary, on the sandy area between the River Danube and the River Tisza. It is 86 km-s to the south of the capital, Budapest. Kecskemét lies at the meeting points of ancient trading paths.

According to some linguists the name of the town is impossible to trace back in history. Some others think that „Kecske” means „goat” and „mét” goes back to „megye” which is „path”. The theory with the „goat” can be justified by the tradition that in the 13th century St Nicholas bishop, the patron saint of the oldest church of the town (The Church of the Friars), presented the church with a goat to breed it. Hungarians were not goat raisers, but some Bulgarians lived in the area at that time and they could have had some goats. In Bulgarian „koziczkameta” means „goatpaths”. This might have been turned into Hungarian. Old documents call the town Aegopolis, which is Goat town. The old marking stamp of the town (used to mark wooden objects and animals) is the Capricorn star sign.

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 a market town in 1368. Under the Turkish Empire the town became a shelter for the population of the region, especially for the people from the neighbouring destroyed villages and farms. The first industrial activities began in the 16th century. The town became independent from its landlord at the beginning of the 19th century by board-waging all its commitments.

The developed agriculture and the new industrial plants founded after the Great Compromise provided possibilities for the town for great developmental plans in the second half of the 19th century: the market square of the market town turned into a main squire with Art Nouveau palaces.

Religious tolerance was always a characteristic feature of the town. In 1564 the followers of the „old” and the „new” religions made an agreement about the joint use of the Old Church. After this, other religions settled into the town, too. This is why we can see on the main square and in the neighbouring streets so many churches. The Jewish population of the town built a synagogue, which is The House of Science and Technology nowadays. There are Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox churches on the main square. The towers and spires of the churches are neighboured by the joyful peaks of houses built at the turn of the century. Arriving from Szeged you can have a spectacular view on the towers of the town. You can see that Kecskemét is really the town of towers.

The history of grape and vine culture also goes back to more than 100 years. Vine- and fruit-growing was developed and vine plantations were created. Kecskemét has been the state of Bács-Kiskun County since 1950. About 108 thousand people live here, and it is an industrial, commercial, cultural and educational centre, which develops dynamically. The economic and regional role of the town is emphasised by the M5 motorway, finished in 1998, which connects the town to the European network of motorways.

Besides industrial activities, commercial, catering and entertainment are also important. The festivals, conferences and meetings are more and more popular. The town houses internationally well-known workshops of music, fine art and animation, unique collections and well-known research institutions. They preserve, present and renew our historical, cultural and artistic traditions. Besides these, Kecskemét is waiting for visitors with a great number of annual events, festivals and cultural programmes.

The City Hall of Kecskemét was built at the end of the 19th century in the style of Art Nouveau and was designed by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. The building reminds the visitor of the Renaissance castles of the Highlands with its dignified simplicity, varied facade (decorated with majolica), and colourfully glazed tiled roof. It is a significant element of the Main Square of Kecskemét, and the building’s carillon has been heard hourly since 1983 from its 1st floor balcony. Inside, the most beautiful part of the building is the Ceremonial Hall, which is the venue of the General Assembly meetings of the city, and also wedding ceremonies and ceremonial receptions. The period furniture of the Ceremonial Hall is hand-crafted, and its walls are decorated with historical seccos of Bertalan Székely.

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. It now houses the Kecskemét Gallery.