Chain Bridge Budapest dates to 1849 when it became the first bridge to connect the Pest and Buda sides of the city. At the time, these were two separate cities, and the bridge led to the creation of a single city, its rapid economic growth, and golden age as one of the most important and most beautiful cities in Europe. It was, at the time, only the second permanent bridge to span the entire length of the Danube River, which flows from the Black Forest region of Germany, passing through Vienna, Bratislava, and Belgrade. It flows through Romania and empties into the Black Sea, and it is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga in Russia. The bridge’s official name is Szechenyi lanchid Chain Bridge, and is named for the Hungarian count who championed its construction.
This suspension bridge in Budapest Hungary is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Virtually every visitor who enjoys Budapest tours will cross over this bridge that connects older Pest and newer Buda. If you have booked one of the Danube River cruises, you will pass under the Chain Bridge Budapest as you leave or enter the city. In fact the berthing spots for most of the river cruise ships are on either side of the bridge.
The Szechenyi Bridge was designed by English architect William Tierney Clark, and is a larger scale replica of the Marlow Bridge he built over the River Thames at Marlowe, England, in 1832. It is called Chain Bridge Budapest because its road bed hangs suspended on large iron chain links that allow small movements of the 1,230-foot-long structure. Other architectural features include two large stone sculptures of lions, the coat of arms of Hungary with its crown and wreath of leaves, and the Szechenyi and Sina family coats of arms.
The Chain Bridge in Budapest Hungary is a central component of the monuments that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city, which includes the banks of the Danube River. On the Pest side of the river, it reaches Roosevelt Square, near the Hungary Academy of Science and Gresham Palace. On the Pest side, the core of the Old City, the bridge ends near the Castle Hill where you will find the magnificent Royal Palace and Buda Castle, Matthias Church and Fishermans Bastion. Originally, it was necessary to walk completely around Castle Hill to continue on the road north. But in the 1850s, British engineer Adam Clark (no relation to William Tierney Clark) built a tunnel through the hill. It opened to foot and horse traffic in 1856 and motor traffic in 1857. The graceful stone entrance to the tunnel is in the same classical style of the bridge, and the tunnel itself is almost exactly the same length as the bridge.
The Chain Bridge in Budapest Hungary suffered significant damage during World War II, and reopened in 1949 after an extensive rebuilding effort. As the Berlin wall fell and European communism ended in 1989, the citizens of Budapest celebrated freedom and independence on the Chain Bridge, and it remains symbolic of the country’s liberty.