Chain bridge Budapest – Information & background

chain bridge Budapest

The Budapest chain bridge is a big landmark in the Hungarian Capital. A true symbol of the city. And one which you cannot overlook. You will surely stumble upon it once being there. Not only did the architect a great job designing it, but it was also the first bridge to connect one side of the city to the other. Justly, the Hungarians are proud of this bridge.

Short history of the Chain bridge Budapest

Before the Chain bridge was build, the only way to go from Buda to Pest was via a pontoon bridge. But this option wasn’t ideal, especially during winter. When it started freezing the pontoon bridge became inoperative. But if it would freeze enough – which happened often – there was another solution: people could walk on the ice from one side to the other. But every now and then it happened that the ice melted too fast and people got stuck on the wrong side. And then they had to wait untill the pontoon bridge started working again.

Count István Széchenyi

Finally it was count István Széchenyi who took the initiative for the construction and building of the Chain bridge. Story goes that one day in winter has father got severely ill. It was freezing and the pontoon bridge wasn’t working, but the ice wasn’t strong enough to walk on either. And so the duke was unable to pay his father a visit. He realized how important it was to make a permanent construction between Buda and Pest. That’s why he started fighting for the cause to build a bridge. The count did not only start the initiative to bulid a bridge, but he also financed part of it. Now you will understand why the official name of the Budapest chain bridge is ‘Széchenyi chain bridge’

Construction of the Chain bridge Budapest

In 1836 the comission to start designing the bridge was given. This process took quite some time. Six years later, in 1842, the construction works started. The building of the bridge was supervised by Adam Clarke, whose name was later given to the square next to the bridge. The building took another 7 years, and on the 20th november 1847 the bridge egidrb niaofficially opened. At the time the bridge was the first non-pontoon bridge in Hungary and it was one of the longest bridges in the world.

The legends of the bridge

There are quite some legends surrounding this famous icon in Budapest. One of them is the story above about the reason why count István Széchenyi wanted to build a bridge. According to the legend it was because of his sick father, but this story might just be an urban legend. Others say this story didn’t happen and the bridge was just build for economic reasons.

The other story is about the sculptor of the lions. He was so proud of them and started bragging he would kill himself if anybody would ever find a mistake in his work. On a certain day a little boy commented that the lions didn’t have tongues and so the sculptor jumped off the bridge. What a tragedy. If this is true? It’s unlikely: take a good look at the lions and you will see that the lions do have tongues.

The last legend also tells about a suicide. Rumors say that the architect killed himself once he realised he had made some miscalculations and he didn’t have enough material to finish the bridge. This story isn’t true for sure. The guy designed another bridge after finishing the Széchenyi chain bridge in Budapest.

chain bridge budapest

Chain bridge closed in 2019

The chain bridge not as solid anymore as it used to be. Everyday so much traffic passes the bridge that it doesn’t meet the safety requirements anymore. And therefore the bridge is being closed to make it stable again and also to do a lot of restoration. Also the walkways will get wider. When the bridge is closed is still unsure, the starting date has been shifted multiple times. The most recent date they anounced is in October or November of 2019.

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