Budapest is graced with many beautiful bridges. Margaret Bridge was built second only after the Chain Bridge, and has been charming visitors and locals with its harmony and elegance every day ever since. The prolonged restoration is now complete, as even the last sculptures were put back in their original place.
Construction on Margaret Bridge began more than two decades after the Chain Bridge was built, based on the plans of French engineer Ernest Göüin, and the bridge was finished in 1876. For a long time, there was no branch that led to the island, either – the bridge wing was finished only in 1900.
We can thank famous French artists, such as architect Wilbrod Chabrol and sculptor Adolphe Thabard, for the bridge ornaments that reflect historical French tastes. By the way, we can find the works of Thabard on the Palais Royal, Sorbonne, Hôtel de Ville, and on several churches in Paris. The French master dreamed up mythological figures standing on a prow for Margaret Bridge.
The bridge was blown up in 1944, and even though it was rebuilt after the war, it was just a mere shadow of the past without its ornaments. The last ornament was put back to its place only now, as the renovation was nearing its end.
As a result of the renovations, the lights of Margaret Bridge became an important part of the city’s night panorama as well. While the romantic effect of the bridge is mostly due to the upper structures, the lights illuminate the arches and the sculptures.
Thus, the bridge was returned to its pre-war appearance: the wrought-iron lampposts, catenary holders, and the handrails are all new. However the renovation would not be complete for a long time: the Hercules sculpture that used to adorn the second river pier from the Buda side was missing from the bridge since World War II. As the final step in the monumental renovation, the sculpture was re-carved from stones brought from France.
If all this were not enough, as the result of the City Building Department and a search company, we can now not only view the bridge from an unusual point of view through street view, but also the whole island. But before you reach for the chips bag: viewing the pictures is no substitute for a jog!