Whether you are a tourist or on business you will find a rich array of programs, colourful cultural events, traditional programs all the year round. This variety is our heritage from the past, since the town has been the meeting point of merchants, different religions and cultures for centuries.
Kecskemét lies in the middle of Hungary, in the region of the sand dunes between the Danube and the Tisza Rivers, 86 kilometres south of Budapest. The settlement was established at the cross-roads of ancient trading routes and its location and favourable geographical characteristics brought the town into the limelight. The charter of 1368 by King Louis the Great mentions it as a market-town. It preserved its market-town character for centuries, and the extensive farming, the special vine- and fruit-growing culture resulted in the growth of the town. Kecskemét is famous for its apricot as well as the ”fütyülős” (whistling) apricot palinka of unique taste.
The one-time market town transformed into a sizeable city with stately edifices by the turn of the 19th century. The secessionist atmosphere of the downtown fascinates visitors from the first moment. Kecskemét is still the "capital" of the Hungarian Art Nouveau architecture. The historical Main Square, the monuments, and sights of the city are certain to capture your imagination and your heart.
Kecskemét has been the seat of Bács-Kiskun county since 1950; it has got 111 thousand inhabitants and it is a dynamically developing industrial, commercial and cultural centre. Due to its logistic conditions, the significant industrial development and the establishment of the Mercedes-Benz plant Kecskemét became Hungary’s automotive centre of national significance in 2012. The town also hosts scientific institutions, workshops and unique collections of music, fine arts, world-famous animated films, and a whole range of recurring festivals year by year.
Old Catholic Church
The Old Catholic Church is the largest church in the Great Hungarian Plain built in late baroque style. Looking down from the 73 meter tall tower the panorama of the town can be seen.
The Town Hall was built by the plans of Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos, considered as the pearl of Hungarian Art Noveau. In 1895 the offices moved into the building of which area is 5534 m2 and has 174 premises. The style of the building is a mixture of the French Renaissance architecture and the elements of Hungarian folk art.
The Ceremonial Hall is the venue of the General Assembly meetings of the city, national and international conferences, wedding ceremonies and ceremonial receptions. The period furniture of the Ceremonial Hall is handicraft work. The wooden furniture and the printed leather backed chairs were made in Szeged according to the design of Lechner and Pártos. The colourful glass windows were made in the famous workshop of Miksa Róth. The decorative wall-painting was made by Adolf Götz, the wall-candlesticks and the chandelier were made by Sándor Árkay, Imperial and Royal locksmith based on the designs of Szilárd Várady. The frescos were made by the famous Hungarian painter Bertalan Székely. These paintings show some periods of the Hungarian history embracing one thousand years.
The name of the city originates from the word „kecske” (meaning „goat”), and „mét” meaning district. The goat can be seen in our coat of arms as well above the stand with the motto of our city beneath it: „Neither height, nor depth deters us.” The flag of the city with the goat can be seen in the corner, just like the flags of a few twin cities of Kecskemét.
The carillon operating in a volume of 3 octaves since 1983 is at the balcony. The signal can be heard every hour, and the 37 bells play Hungarian classics (Kodály, Erkel) at 12.05 p.m., Händel, Beethoven and Mozart at 18.05 p.m. and Hungarian folk songs at 20.00 p.m.
The oldest architectural monument of Kecskemét is the Franciscan Church which was built in the 14th century; the locals call it the Church of Friars. Originally it was built in Romanesque style and during several reconstructions Gothic and Baroque stylistical marks were added to it. It was used both by Catholics and Protestants until 1564, which is unique in our history of religion.
Katona József Theatre
The Neo-Baroque building of the theatre was built for the Millennium of the country. It was named after the author of the first Hungarian national drama - the son of Kecskemét - József Katona. Its resemblance to the Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) in Budapest is not coincidental, they were both built by the plans of the famous Vienna architects, Hellmer and Fellner. Its ornamental design reminding of a jewel box is especially spectacular in the evening.
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 and Saint Steven of the House of Árpád.
Kodály Zoltán Institute of Music Pedagogy
The Kodály Zoltán Institute of Music Pedagogy hosts an exhibition introducing the life and work of the famous composer and music educator, Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). The institute established in 1975 provides post-graduate trainings for foreign music pedagogues in the field of Hungarian music pedagogy and methodology especially Kodály's conception of music education.
The Calvinist Church was built in early Baroque style in the 1680s, the only church built of stone in the region during the Turkish occupation.
New Calvinist College
The palace was built in the style of Art Nouveau, decorated with Transylvanian motives. Today it hosts the Primary and Secondary Grammar School of the Calvinist College.
The Cifra Palace (meaning ornamented palace) is a unique piece of architecture, known as the masterpiece of Art Nouveau with its wonderful curved walls, shining roof tiles and ceramic ornaments. It hosts the Kecskemét Art Gallery of the Katona József Museum today.
House of Science and Technology
The one-time synagogue built in Moorish-Romantic style. It was converted into a conference centre during the 1970s. It is known as the House of Science and Technology exhibiting the replicas of 15 Michelangelo sculptures.
It was built in the 19th century, and was hidden by stores until the end of the 1980s. Today Miklós Ybl’s masterpiece, decorated with Romanesque motives is worth seeing in its original beauty.
One of the most up-to-date Hungarian libraries serves visitors on an area of over 7000 m2. It was built in 1996 and named after József Katona.
The Piarists established their school in the town at the beginning of the 18th century, later they built a monastery and a church as well. The secondary grammar school in the centre of the square was built in Classicist style. The primary school education started a few years ago and is available for girls either.
Greek Orthodox Church
The small church was founded by Greek merchant families who settled in Kecskemét, along with a museum of icons in its yard. Next to the church the so called Craftsmen’s House was built in seccesionist style. Today it is the building of the Youth Centre.