City guide
The statuesque bridges of Budapest
Photo : Tamás Kőrösi/We Love Budapest
The statuesque bridges of Budapest

The Hungarian capital’s monumental spans not only connect hilly Buda with Pest’s urban flatland, but they elevate the city’s romantic flair with their imposing style and finely crafted carvings. Whether we admire the iconic Chain Bridge with its ever-guarding lions, the green-hued Liberty Bridge featuring an intricate metal design, or the understated Margaret Bridge showcasing myriad mythological heroes, these Danube-crossing links present prolific collections of meaningful sculptures and ornamentations that enhance the splendor of these significant city landmarks.

											
Chain Bridge Margaret Bridge Liberty Bridge

Chain Bridge


                                                            
Graceful lions welcome those who cross the Danube on Budapest’s most iconic landmark, connecting Széchenyi Square and the imposing Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace on the Pest side with Clark Ádám Square and its historic Castle Hill Funicular on the Buda side. The stone-carved beasts are the works of Hungarian artist János Marschalkó, whose name is surrounded by a deadly legend: soon after the statues’ installation, a cobbler pointed out that the majestic lions are lacking tongues, and this story’s escalation led to the ashamed sculptor’s suicide. These rumors turned out to be false, and in fact the petrified creatures possess the contested sensory organ, although it’s hardly visible from the pedestrian side of these sculptures. Those who admire the lions from a closer angle can notice a metal-made symbol mounted on the base, representing the major supporters of the construction project – Count István Széchenyi and Baron György Sina – while the upper parts of the arches are adorned with the Hungarian Coat of Arms perched above a roaring lion’s head, making the bridge one of Budapest’s postcard superstars.
Chain Bridge

Margaret Bridge


                                                            
Awe-inspiring divine heroes adorn the Margaret Bridge’s massive stone pillars, featuring Greek mythological warriors as they powerfully tower above the swirling waterway. Built according to the plans of French architect Ernest Goüin in 1876, Budapest’s second-ever permanent Danube span joins Szent István Boulevard on the Pest side and Margit Boulevard on the Buda side, with a connection to the Margaret Island halfway through. Adolphe Thabard’s elaborate sculptures demonstrate Hercules, the deific protector of mankind, and Nike, the winged goddess of victory, and all these artworks add dramatic charm to this understated overpass. The majestic statues can be best viewed from the river level aboard a passing boat (Budapest’s public ferry service offers an inexpensive option for this), along with the central pillar that bears a commemorative plaque as the manifestation of the first construction works; the stone-carved Holy Crown of Hungary stands above the memorial, and is flanked by sleek obelisks featuring two elegant dragon-shaped cast-iron lamps, elevating the bridge’s artistic heights.
Margaret Bridge

Liberty Bridge


                                                            
Vibrant olive hues and bumpy metal rivets characterize the Liberty Bridge, running across the Danube between Pest’s Fővám Square and Buda’s St. Gellért Square, boasting a refined Art Nouveau style with its curvaceous metal formations and classically designed lamps. The bridge was built for the 1896 Hungarian Millennial jubilee – a huge celebration to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Magyars’ arrival in Hungary – making the city’s shortest span one of the key highlights of this major occurrence. Those who gaze skyward while walking across the bridge can spot the large bronze Turul birds – the Hungarians’ mythological representation of perpetual power – gracefully standing with their open wings at the span’s highest points. Local civil engineer Virgil Nagy designed the gateways that boast the historic Hungarian Coat of Arms and the golden Holy Crown, while the whole construction of the bridge features a stately style.  

Liberty Bridge