Chain Bridge is another symbol of Budapest as well as one of the most impressive works of infrastructure ever constructed in 19th century Europe. Budapest’s name comes from two cities, Buda and Pest which were divided by the Danube River. While a pontoon bridge allowed safe passage over the river since the Middle Ages, crossing the river was still a difficult task. The pontoon only functioned during the warmer seasons (spring, summer, autumn) while during winter, the Danube froze and was crossed by foot with the pontoon being left useless. Abrupt changes in weather caused several tragedies and often enough trapped people on one side of the Danube.
This happened to count Istvan Szechenyi, who was forced to wait a week in order to cross the river and attend his father’s funeral. In fact, it is believed this incident was the catalyst that led to the construction of the Chain Bridge. Chain Bridge was designed by Englishman William Clarke and build by Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no connection). At the time of its completion, in 1849, the bridge was an imposing marvel of engineering and was even considered by some to be a modern wonder of the world. It spanned the complete width of the Danube connecting Adam Clark ter on the Buda part with Szechenyi Istavan ter of the Pest part. Lanchid, or Chain Bridge was to first permanent structure to connect the two sides.
A tunnel was also added to connect the two sides, being built by the same Adam Clark. During World War II, Chain Bridge was destroyed, with reparation and rebuilding starting immediately and ending in 1949.
Chain bridge is one of the most popular spots in Budapest for tourists as well as locals, who relish in the beautiful design and the astounding views available on all sides. The bridge is equally if not more impressive during nighttime as the architectural lighting truly bathes the city in a magical air. The bridge’s huge potential has been fully understood and used by local authorities, with festivals being held there for the entire duration of the summer months. The bridge will lead tourists to the funicular which takes them to Castle Hill on the Buda side while the Pest side will leave them in the lively Szechenyi Istvan Square, one of the most picturesque places in the city. St Stephen’s Basilica, Gresham Palace as well as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences are located a stone’s throw away from Szechenyi Istvan Square.
The bridge itself is the perfect venue for tourists who have a passion for beautiful works of architecture or who simply want to take in the grandeur of the city and take some amazing photos as well.