The Chain Bridge over the Danube is one of the most famous images of Budapest. This suspension bridge between the districts of Pest and Buda offers spectacular views of the banks of the Danube. On the Pest side, the pointed towers of the Parliament Building flank the Danube, while Buda Castle rises on the other bank. The suspension bridge itself is quite striking, especially at night when the heavy chains twinkle with thousands of lights.
Széchenyi lánchíd, as it is known in Hungarian, was completed in 1849. This marvel was the first bridge to link the cities of Buda and Pest. At the time, it was an extraordinary architectural masterpiece – being 375 metres long it was one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe. Great stone lions guard the bridge on both sides, and the striking pillars bear the coat of arms of Hungary.
Count István Széchenyi was one of those unlucky ones. In 1820, he had to wait a week to cross the river and missed his father’s funeral. He was so upset by this that he decided to remedy the situation in short order and established a foundation to finance the construction of a permanent bridge over the Danube. The English engineer William Tierney Clark designed the suspension bridge and the Scotsman Adam Clark (no relation) oversaw its construction. The grand opening took place on 21 November 1849.