Saturday, 14 November 2009

What to see: The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Budapest

Among the bridges crossing the Danube from Buda to Pest, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, or Széchenyi-lánchid, is perhaps the better-known landmark of the Hungarian capital. The first permanent bridge linking the two then separate cities, it was built between 1839-1849 after an initiative by Count István Széchenyi, who is considered one of the greatest statesmen and reformers in Hungarian history.
The bridge was designed by the Englishman William Tierney Clark and built by the Scot Adam Clark (no relation). With its length of 380 metres it was considered a major feat of engineering at the time. Like all the other bridges across the Danube, the Chain Bridge was destroyed during World War II and faithfully rebuilt after the end of the war. The lions guarding the bridgeheads at either side are by the sculptor János Marschalkó.
Close to the bridge are famous buildings such as the Royal Palace (now the Hungarian National Gallery), seen in the first and third photos; the Parliament (the largest such building on the continent), seen in the second picture; and Gresham Palace (now the Four Seasons Hotel), glimpsed in the fourth photo.

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