There are discussions going on about the origin of the name of the town. One version says that the name has its origins in the word "szeglet" (meaning "corner") because of its being a junction point of many important routes, while another one argues that the name is originated from a proper name, i. e. from the name of a man called "Cegléd" or close to it. Nevertheless, the most possible explanation may be the one according to which the name of the town takes its origins from the word "cigle", which was the ancient name of a rivercoast willow. Cegléd is situated between the Duna and Tisza rivers, north of Kiskunság, at the western part of the Great Hungarian Plain. Due to its location, it is often called "the gate of the Great Plain". It was reinhabitated later, and on May 8, 1364 Louis I of Hungary relieved the town from paying customs. The king gave the town to his queen, Elisabeth, who ceded it to the Clarissa-sisters. During the 1514 György Dózsa peasant uprising, Cegléd was a very important hive for rebellions, and one of the biggest supporters of them. After the catastrophe of Mohács (1526) Cegléd came under the reign of Bálint Török of Enying. The reformation rapidly spread through the town, and the Calvinists owned the old temple of the Clarissa-sisters till 1687, when the Turks were forced out. At the beginning of the 18th century, Cegléd supported the fight for freedom led by Ferenc Rákóczi, although inhabitants were several times forced by Habsburgtroops to flee.
After the Treat of Tolerance, they were allowed to construct a church for themselves and the reformed community. This church was doomed by the Great Fire in 1834. By the next year a new construction was started under the plans of József Hild. The church was finished at 1870, and became the symbol of the town.
The other symbol of Cegléd is Lajos Kossuth. During his 1848 conscription tour, he told his famous speech in the Market Place of Cegléd. By his words more than 5000 men joined his army for the victory. Later Kossuth's son, Ferenc Kossuth became the deputy of Cegléd in the Hungarian parliament. During the 1848-1849 war of independence, one battle passed next to Cegléd, in Bede (today one of the outskirts of the town), when the revolutionary troops of Mór Perczel defeated the Habsburgs, led by Ottinger. In July 1849, due to the political situation, Cegléd was the seat of the Hungarian revolutionary government for a week. The golden age of the town were the last years of the 19th and the first ones of the 20th century. The town went through a quick urbanisation, got a secondary school and many important public facilities were built. Cegléd also saw the organisation of the first-ever Hungarian collective farm in 1902 (based on free will back then). During the 1956 revolution, for a couple of days Cegléd was governed by revolutionary forces, organised mainly by pupils of the local Kossuth Lajos Secondary School. During the socialist regime, agriculture and light industry were made priorities, and after the fall of the regime, these features started to decline, and many of the inhabitants moved to bigger towns. Today, however, the town seems to have refound itself on the base of tourism and its thermal water.
The town is surrounded by beautiful farmland, and some of the finest agricultural land in Hungary can be found in this area.
The land is known for producing yellow peppers that are particularly rich in flavor.
One of the other famous features of Cegléd is its richness in thermal water. At the outskirts of the town, there is a newly built thermal spa, featuring also an aqua park, a hotel and a camping place. Cegléd has also the biggest Calvinist church in Central Europe. Although disputes have been going on whether the Debrecen one is bigger, the Cegléd church seems to be the bigger one, regarding its volume. In the downtown, at Szabadság tér (Liberty Square) stands a statue of Lajos Kossuth, the replica of which can be found in New York. At the same square, there is the Museum of Drums, Cegléd being a town with vivid jazz life, featuring also the annual Drum and Percussion Gala, that attracts interest from all over Hungary and even from abroad. The memory of Lajos Kossuth is also conserved by the Kossuth Museum, as well as the so-calledKossuth's Balcony - that is the balcony of the former Green Tree hotel in Bratislava, where Kossuth made a famous speech from, and which is today standing next to the Calvinist church of Cegléd. The city hall is constructed in an eclectic style, reflecting the taste of the early 20th century. The Lutheran church is built in neogothic style, while the Catholic Church (Church of the Blessing of the Holy Cross) is a classicist one.
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