It is quite painful to see the current condition of the Budapest Chain Bridge, German newspaper editor Alexander von Schönburg, a direct descendant of bridge’s founder Count István Széchenyi, told Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview.
“The bridge must be restored, we can’t let it go to waste because it’s a symbol of Hungary’s modernity and reminds us that Hungary’s prosperity began with the utilization of brand-new technologies,” von Schönburg said. “I’m also very attached to the bridge emotionally as well, and it’s quite painful to see it in such condition.”
As Remix News reported earlier, the much-needed renovation of the chain bridge recently suffered another setback due to Budapest’s government, led by liberal mayor Gergely Karácsony, continuously dragged its feet on issuing the tender for its reconstruction.
The bridge, designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark and built by Scottish engineer Adam Clark in 1849, was the first permanent bridge across the Danube River in Hungary.
Although Budapest’s previous conservative mayor, István Tarlós, who served between 2010 and 2019, had budgeted for the reconstruction during his last year in office, setting aside 23.7 billion forints (€68.74 million) for the project, Karácsony said that sum was insufficient.
“If you can’t do it any other way, if the city’s leadership can’t or won’t take care of this, I suggest you renovate it through public donations and anyone who contributes will get a letter of recognition,” von Schönburg said.” And if this can’t be done, you should collect toll money like in the good old days… This bridge belongs to everyone, every Hungarian—it must become a social issue.”
Unusually for conservative daily Magyar Nemzet, the interview was published in the language it was conducted in, English.
“It’s my greatest source of shame that I can’t speak Hungarian,” von Schönburg said at the beginning of the interview.
Title image: Laying of the foundation stone of the Budapest Chain Bridge, painting by Miklós Barabás. (Wikimedia Commons)