City guide

Clark Ádám tér

Photo : Balkányi László / We Love Budapest
Clark Ádám tér, 0 km, Budavári sikló, sikló

Named after the Scottish engineer who completed the work on the adjoining Chain Bridge, Clark Ádám tér is a roundabout that conducts traffic either over the Danube, through the Tunnel also built by Clark or along the Buda embankment. As well as overseeing both constructions, the Scot saved the Chain Bridge from being blown up by the Austrian army attempting to quell the Hungarian Uprising of 1849. Hero status was sealed when Clark not only built the Tunnel under Castle Hill, but married a Hungarian and fathered three children here. A few hundred metres along from the Chain Bridge, past the Várkert Bazaar, a plaque marks the house where the Clark clan lived.

Back on Clark Ádám tér, three other features merit attention. To one side of the Tunnel, the Funicular looks for all the world like a Habsburg-era attraction but in fact only dates back to 1986. Previously a steam engine, before then a horse-pulled conveyance, a vehicle has been tackling the steep gradient up Castle Hill since 1870. The first passengers were civil servants working in the Castle District above – today’s, forming long queues outside the lower terminus, are tourists. The line often reaches as far as the Zero Kilometre Stone, from which all distances to Budapest are measured. Across the roundabout, a prominent corner left vacant for decades was filled in 2018 by the Hotel Clark, a stylish four-star whose rooftop cocktail bar Leo carries the same lion theme as the revered statues standing guard on Chain Bridge. Legend has it that they are pulled into the Tunnel to keep them dry whenever it rains. The bridge has long been earmarked for reconstruction – an 18-month rebuild should start at some point in 2019.