Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Photo Essay: The Chain Bridge in Budapest

The Chain Bridge in Budapest, the first permanent bridge to span the Danube connecting the Buda and the Pest sides of the river, was completed in 1849. Designed by William Tierney Clark, an English engineer, the bridge was originally named Istvan Szechenyi, which is commemorated on the side of the bridge, however most people refer to it as the Chain Bridge. 

On both sides of the bridge, there are two lion statues carved by Janos Marschalko' and according to urban legend, and my grandmother who originated from Hungary (she was always a primary source for urban legends), the sculptor challenged that if anyone found something wrong with the lion sculpture he would jump off the bridge. 

One version of the urban legend has it that a young child pointed out that the lions were missing tongues, and the sculptor being so distraught at this mistake, jumped off the bridge. However, another version of this urban legend is that after the child's accusation, the sculptor studied the resting position of lions at a nearby zoo, where he observed that while a lion is in the resting position, similar to his sculptures, the tongue in not visible. Thus, the sculptor reported that he did not have to hold up his end of the bargain and jump off the bridge.  

The choice is yours to decide. Did he jump or didn't he? Truth be told, while visiting the Chain Bridge, I shared with my family my grandmother's version of the urban legend, which was that the sculptor jumped after being so distraught. I guess that's what makes it an urban legend, multiple versions and sketchy details.  

Whichever version you believe, visiting the Chain Bridge is an experience not to be missed, as it is a beautiful structure from any angle at any time of the day.