Kecskemét (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkɛt͡ʃkɛmeːt]) is a city in the central part of Hungary. It is the 8th largest city in the country, and the county seat of Bács-Kiskun.
Kecskemét, lies halfway between the capital Budapest and the country’s third-largest city, Szeged, 86 kilometers (53 miles) from both of them and almost equal distance from the two big rivers of the country, the Danube and the Tisza. It is the northern of two centers of the Hungarian Southern Great Plain (Hungarian: Del-Alföld) region (comprising the three counties Bács-Kiskun, Békés and Csongrád); the southern center is Szeged, the seat of Csongrád county.
The name of the city stems from the Hungarian word kecske, meaning “goat”.
Kecskemét was established at the meeting point of a large sandy region and a sandy yellow soil; its elevation is 120 m (394 ft) above sea level. The territory west of the city is covered by wind-blown sand, characterized by the almost parallel northern-southern sand dunes and the plain between them. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, the pastures had become depleted. Overgrazing by cattle had destroyed the natural vegetation cover, and the movement of sand seriously endangered the town. Concentrated reforestation and planting of fruit and vines was carried out to stabilize the soil again.
Kecskemét is in the center of Kiskunság, one of Hungary’s famous regions. The Kiskunság National Park was established in 1975 to preserve the many different regional species of plants and animals. It is a “mosaic”-type national park, consisting of units that are not connected.