The Chain Bridge, or Lánchíd in Hungarian, is one of Budapest’s most well know sights, being one of the most photographed bridges in Budapest. And its no surprise why. During the day, it stands majestic against the skyline of the city, connecting Pest and Buda. At night, lit up in lights, makes it one of the most beautiful landmarks in all of Budapest.
The bridge was opened in 1849 and was the first permanent bridge across the Danube. Officially, it was named after István Széchenyi, a major supporter of its construction, but it is most commonly known as the Chain Bridge. Click for more photos and info on the bridge.
At the end of World War II, retreating German troops blew up all bridges of Budapest, including the Chain Bridge. The bridge was completely destroyed with only the pillars remaining. There was a decision to rebuild the bridge and it was reopend in 1949, exactly 100 years after its original opening.
The two ends of the bridge are decorated with lions and the coat of arms of Hungary with the crown and a wreath of leaves. Apparently, there is an urban legend in Budapest that the lions of the Chain Bridge do not have tongues. The legend lacks any factual basis, the lions do have tongues, however, these can only be seen from above.
Cross the bridge on foot is a must for any tourist. Ask you walk, you’re spoiled by views of the Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side and Parliament and the Basilica on the Pest side.
The Budapest City Protection Society embedded a bilingual plaque in Roosevelt Square at the Pest side stating: “To commemorate the only two surviving bridges designed by William Tierney Clark: The Széchenyi Chain Bridge over the Danube at Budapest and the suspension bridge over the Thames at Marlow – England.” A similar text can be read at a plaque placed at the Marlow Bridge.