Traces of Past Empires

By pastempires

The Chain Bridge and Lion Budapest

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest in Hungary. It was designed by the English engineer William Tierney Clark, and was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary opened in 1849.

So as such it represents two part Empires, first the Austria-Hungarian Empire that fell in 1918, and second the industrial might of the British Empire in the first half of the 19th Century.

The bridge was designed by Clark in 1839, for Széchenyi. Construction was supervised by Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no relation). It is a larger version of Clark's earlier Marlow Bridge in England.

The bridge was opened in 1849, and thus became the first permanent bridge in the Hungarian capital. At the time, its centre span of 202 metres (663 ft) was one of the largest in the world. The lions at each of the abutments - one seen here, were carved in stone by the sculptor, János Marschalkó and are similar to the bronze lions of Trafalgar Square by Edwin Henry Landseer of 1867, but they are earlier - 1852!

The Bridge was designed in sections and shipped from the United Kingdom to Hungary for final construction.

The bridge's cast iron structure was updated and strengthened in 1914. In World War II, the bridge was severely damaged during Siege of Budapest, but was rebuilt and reopened 1949.

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