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Sights of Kecskemét (Kecskemét)

Kecskemét, seat of Bács-Kiskun County , lies at the junction of the east-west and north-south main transport routes. Its wonderful public buildings are evidence of its past, and its museums and galleries contain significant cultural treasures.

The city is a meeting place of historical traditions and modern endeavours. The bustling business scene of recent decades has been beneficial to the town's image and has brought progress in tourism as well: new hotels, guesthouses and catering establishments have been established.

The city became the county seat in 1950, stepping onto the path of rapid economic and social development. A number of villages became independent, situated on the vast expanse of lands surrounding the city: independence came in 1950 for Bugac and Lakitelek, two years later for Hetényegyháza, Helvécia, Lászlófalva (today Szentkirály) and Városföld, and two years later again for Ballószög. Again, the district of Matkó from Helvécia and Hetényegyháza were annexed to Kecskemét in 1989 at the request of its inhabitants.

 

The famous Ornamental Palace.

In the second half of the 1960's, Kecskemét became the academic and cultural centre of the region south of Budapest. The work carried out by the local scientific institutions has enabled Kecskemét to remain one of the centres of horticulture in Hungary.

In the early 20th century, the establishment of a library, a museum and an artists' colony further served the city's development. Cartoon filmmaking here is world famous and music and enamelling workshops also receive international attention. Its theatre stands out for its performances as well as for its role in the local society.

 

SIGHTS

 

Ornamental Palace

The Secession-style palace was built in 1902 according to the design of Géza Márkus. The colourful roof tiles and the facade ornamentation were created by the Zsolnay factory in Pécs. Today it houses the Kecskemét Gallery.

 

Hungarian Naive Arts Museum

This is Hungary's only museum exhibiting painting and sculptures from naive arts collected throughout the country. The gallery operates in the cellar.

The courtyard in front is also an exhibition space: the 3 metre high shepherd and his dog carved from Gemenc oak was created by Imre Tőke, himself a shepherd; the archaic Rain-wishing statue is the work of József Szőrös.

The basis for the museum was laid by renowned researcher of naive arts Domokos Moldován when, during the Second Folk Music Gathering in 1969, he offered his own naive arts collection to the town. Since then the works by outstanding Hungarian naive artists are shown here in permanent thematic exhibitions and in temporary exhibitions devoted to individual artists.

 

Hungarian Photography Museum

The collection is comprised of over 200,000 positive and 75,000 negative pictures, as well as 16,000 photographic objects, coins and documents. Amongst others, the André Kertész bequest is kept here.

Alongside the legacy of photographer André Kertész, the most outstanding collection of objects include the Pál Rosti album from 1857-58, Rudolf Balogh's WWI negatives, László Moholy-Nagy's 75 exposures and photograms by György Kepes. The museum's enormous collection is presented in temporary exhibitions. 

Hungary's only professional new and used photographic bookshop can be visited here.

 

City HallCity Hall Kecskemét

Designed by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos , the Secession City Hall was built between 1892 and 1896. The exterior majolica ornamentation was created in the Zsolnay Factory. Bertalan Székely's fresco hangs in the assembly hall.

The exterior of City Hall is a fusion of eastern features, French roof design and English architectural motifs. The main facade is two storey, while the two side wings and the rear facade are single storey.

On its entrance facade there is a high triangular gable, a canopied balcony and a carriage entrance with four columns for coaches. The tower evokes the atmosphere of the castle palaces of the past. Burnt from Hungarian clay and decorated with stylised Hungarian folk art motifs, there is generous use of ceramic ornamentation on the exterior. Popular imagination dubbed the fine lace edging 'caterpillars', the twirling, denser shapes 'rooster's comb', and the pearl-like knots 'snake's egg'.

The world-famous son of the city Zoltán Kodály is commemorated with a chime at the entrance to the Hall. One of ten tunes produced by the three-octave electronic mechanism can usually be heard at 12.05, 18.05 and in summer at 20.05. The signature tune composed for the 37 bells can be heard on the hour throughout the day.

Most rooms are currently used as offices for the city council, some office space is used by the Bács-Kiskun County Archives. The Tourist Information Office (Tourinform) also operates in the building; it can be accessed from the side next to the Old Church.

 

Collection of Applied Folk Art

This is a unique museum of applied folk art from Hungary. More than 2,000 items of applied art are displayed in this 18th-century Baroque brewery and spirit distillery.

One exhibition is titled Object forming arts in our days (Napjaink tárgyformáló művészete). It presents five branches of folk art arranged according to regions: woodcarving, pottery, embroidery, weaving and small crafts. Another permanent exhibition displays the Kalotaszeg collection of Dezső Zana.

The most important collections of the museum include woodcarvings by Antal Kapoli, ceramics by Sándor Kántor, embroidery by Bori Kisjankó and pottery by Sebestyén Gerencsér.

 

Kodály Institution

Incorporating a late medieval defensive tower, the former Baroque Franciscan monastery is today home to the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music.

Kodály KecskemétThere are two reasons why the general public visits the institution. The first is the exhibition presenting the important stages of the life of Zoltán Kodály along with his connection to Kecskemét. Especially noteworthy is a Kodály portrait by sculptor Miklós Borsos. The other reason to visit is to attend one of the atmospheric concerts held within the centuries-old walls, in the shaded inner courtyard with lime trees or in the former refectory.

Opened in 1975, the institution is devoted to spreading and further developing the so-called Kodály method, a special system of music education and a significant part of Kodály's works. Since then over 3,500 students have taken part in the one- or two-year live-in courses and in the Kodály Seminars. It is primarily music teachers from Japan, Great Britain, Greece, South Korea, the United States and Spain who participate in these courses.

 

Ráday Museum

It presents the heritage of the Calvinist congregations along the Danube banks (Duna-Tisza köze), Southern Transdanubia. The clock and watch collection of István Hanga and the mineral collection of András Fuxreiter are also displayed here.

Works of ecclesiastical art and historical relics include valuable items such as pre-Reformation chalices used during Roman Catholic mass. The work of Illés Tar, György Tar, György Cseh and Mihály Csorcsán, members of the Kecskemét gold and silversmith guild in the 17th century, is exhibited in separate showcases. Especially attractive are the wooden ceiling coffers and ecclesiastic artefacts such as vessels used at Communion and for baptising, as well as church furnishings and historic documents. The wooden grave posts displayed in the courtyard and the approximately 5,000 item graphic art collection are also remarkable.

The base of the collection is the library of the Count Ráday family, hence the museum's name.

 

Szórakaténusz Toy Museum and WorkshopSzórakaténusz Toy Museum Kecskemét

Treasures are kept here, rarities from the history of toys which are carved from wood, flax, husks and shaped from many other materials. The museum was established to gather and present a comprehensive collection of the Hungarian toy culture.

The permanent exhibitions are: Toys of the centuries from the hands of masters (Évszázadok játékai mesterkezekből) – early 20th-century toys and designs of applied arts value, objects from Hungarian toy-making workshops, contemporary applied arts toys, childrenQs toys and musical instruments from Székelyvarság and Korond, and the collection of music researcher Josif Herta.

The collection consists of over 10,000 toys of peasants and town dwellers, specialist books and manuscripts. It also collects materials from abroad. Toy-making and handcrafts workshops are held in the museum building built in 1981, and which was designed specifically for the purpose by the renown architect, Ybl and Kossuth laureate József Kerényi.

 

Arboretum

Covering 62 hectares, the Kecskemét Arboretum is part of the town's greenbelt area. As a place of pilgrimage it is also a site of ecclesiastical traditions. Built in 1718, a heritage chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary stands in the grounds.

Arboretum KecskemétDivided into three distinct parts, the arboretum consists of a shelterbelt forest, a general tree collection, and an oak collection.

More than 800 species of trees and shrubs are set along various paths throughout the 25-hectare collection grounds. Some paths trace trees belonging to a geographic area, such as the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Pacific, North America, East Asia, the Balkans, and Pannonia. Other paths were formed taking into account the morphology, taxonomy and specific needs of the plants, resulting in trails called: Path of colourful foliage; Circular round flowering trees and shrubs; Long needle pines; Cypresses; Juniper path; Saline tolerants and wetland plants; Path of drought resistants, etc. Signs aid the recognition of the more interesting species.

The collection is surrounded by a shelter forest safeguarding favourable microclimatic conditions as well as representing both the natural and the artificial types of Great Plain forest stocks.

Hungarian and some foreign, drought-resistant species of oaks grow in the 16 hectare area of the oak collection (Quercetum). It is the most recent addition to the arboretum.

In 1999 a sculptural walk called 'Hungarian Saints' was created on the estate. The 15-station Calvary blends in superbly with the landscape.

A gazebo, a rain shelter and a playground with wooden toys are also available to visitors to the arboretum.

 

Bánó House

This vernacular Baroque house built around 1730 today hosts the Hungarian Naive Arts Museum.

The lower west wing was built in the 18th century while the beautifully proportioned Baroque main building with its high roof was erected in the early 19th century. A typical example of the living arrangements of the gentry in a Great Plain market town, this type of house is rarely seen today.

In 1969 Domokos Moldován offered his collection of naive art to the city of Kecskemét on the occasion of the 2nd Folk Music Festival.

Bánó House seemed the most suitable home for the exhibition. The ruined building was renovated according to the plans of József Kerényi.

 

József Katona TheatreJózsef Katona Theatre

The building decorated with Baroque-style motifs was designed by Ferdinánd Fellner and Árpád Helmer. Construction began in 1896.

The 900 seat theatre was completed in 16 months. Beloved actress Mari Jászai opened the theatre with her guest performance on 16th October 1896.

The Viennese master Henrik Hausbeitner created the statues that decorate the facade of the theatre in the window bays of the first floor. To the right of the entrance is a portrait of Károly Kisfaludy and on the left József Katona. The former Kecskemét Thália theatre was renamed after József Katona on 11th November 1916.

The famous drama by József Katona, Ban Bánk, was first performed in Kecskemét on 14th October 1847 by Ede Góts' theatre company. Hungary's greatest national drama has been performed over 200 times in the city since then.

 

Museum of the History of Medicine and Pharmaceutics

The exhibition entitled 'Two centuries of medical care' presents the history of medicine from the 18th to the 20th century through its artefacts, along with the history of the Holy Trinity Pharmacy established in 1766. The collection found a home in the dwelling of an affluent peasant built prior to 1810.

 

 

Accommodation in Kecskemét:

http://www.hungaryrooms.com/hotels/Kecskemét/

Map of Kecskemét:

http://www.hungaryrooms.com/map/Kecskemét/

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