History of the town

Local archaeological sites confirm that the town of Kechnec was first settled as early as in the Paleolithic Period. That allows to assume that the nature and the surroundings offered enough opportunities for the survival. The first record of the town in writing is dated to the 13th century, specifically 1220, when it was mentioned as a settlement called Felnemet. Being on the then Hungarian Queen’s land at the lower stream of the River Hornád, the territory of Kechnec (Kenyhecz in Hungarian) was settled by German immigrants at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. We know that from the Varadin’s Register of 1220.

In 1295 the Queen Agnes gave the town of Kechnec, together with another 7 small towns to Menne, a surrogate breastfeeder of King Ladislaus IV. An old document dated to 1338 says that in our town there was a mill, located near the present town of Seňa, which was preserved to the modern times. This documents active work and life of local farmers. 

The King Sisigmund, another major player in the history of the town, gave Kechnec to the Marmoss administrator Peter of Perin. It was a gift for his loyalty and military merits. This fact documents the importance of Kechnec at that time. The donation and merit document is interesting due to its bilingual name – Felnemethy alio domine Kemnech.

Although already before the time of arrival of German colonists the town of Kechnec had had its own Slavic name, which the Germans adopted, it also got its official Hungarian name Felnémeti. In 1560 the town was named Kenyhecz Nempty, in 1605 Kenyhecz, in 1808 Kechnec, and the last mentioned name has been preserved until now. According to the conscriptions of local priests and churches, in 1746 people in Kechnec spoke Slovak and Hungarian, like it is nowadays.

The importance of Kechnec is also stressed by the fact that it was on an important merchant route, called the Buda one or the Pest one. But often it found itself on a major military route as well.

A number of major landowners were resident in the town, from among which it is worth to mention the Kenyheczi and Czikovics families. János Czikovics obtained Kechnec from King Leopold I in 1689 in Vienna.

Religion has a long tradition in Kechnec. During the Counter-Reformation period and the insurrections led by the Transylvanian Protestant knight Imre Thököly at the end of the 17th century, the local population was apparently forced to convert to Protestantism, in line with a slogan: “Adopt your landowner’s re­ligion.” The Roman Catholic church building was subsequently levelled to the ground and it was not built up again until 1749, following an impulse given by the bishop Istvan Kaczer. Its latest reconstruction was made in 1992 – 1993 and subsequently in 2006-2007.

Our predecessors well thought about the future and left town chronicles for future generations. Ours was lost in 1938. In the newer one, which was started by Imrich Doják, there is an interesting record of the revolutionary events of 1848 – 1849. Fierce fighting took place around Kechnec, probably over the control of a major local bridge Hidásnémeti. Austrian soldiers, who served the Viennese Emperor and his court, executed four local inhabitants in the yard of the town pub. The pub used to be in the yard of Ms Ráczová, Ms. Fedorová.

In the 19th century, reputable families of János Mác and of Józef Horváth, but also Ferdynandy, Pallagi, Teleki, Lejtényi, Vadász and Smith landowner families lived there. An officer of the Hungarian army Gejza Török also had property in the town.

The town of Kechnec also got into railway transport history books. The first train came to the town on 5th July 1860. It started in Miskolz and ended in Košice. A theatre also enjoys a long tradition in the town.

History – coat-of-arms

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