Elizabeth Bridge, fast and furious
Elizabeth bridge (or Elisabeth Bridge) was originally built in 1897-1903, so after the Chain Bridge, Margaret Bridge and Liberty bridges. It was named for Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hungarians great favourite, also known as Queen Sissi. It is one of the main fast traffic bridges of Budapest, and is perhaps not the most attractive, but it too has some stories to tell.
Interestingly enough, there was a huge scandal surrounding its precise location, that still rebounds today some 120 years later. A wealthy businessman greased a few palms to ensure that the exact stretch of Buda shore that he happened to own, would be approved for the project. No charges were ever raised, but it has had a long term effect. The original elegant suspension bridge was destroyed by the German forces in 1945, like all of Budapest’s bridges, but was so badly wrecked that it could not be repaired. Way later in 1960, it was rebuilt completely, in a new modern design, but it was economical to reuse the existing foundations, so the contested piece of land from 1897 was once more used. The trouble was, sharp bends were required to avoid running approach roads through the body of Gellért Hill. While this had not been an issue in horse-drawn pre-war times, the advent of fast motor traffic was quite a different story, and the bridge has been the source of many serious westbound accidents. Though the bridge originally had tram tracks, these were removed in 1972, and more car lanes added, making this the only 6-lane bridge in the inner-city, and thus one of the fastest.
What to look out for:
Check out the statue of Empress Elizabeth in the small gardens to the north of the bridge on the Buda side, and the submarine-type doors in the towers that the bridge workers (who are obviously hobbits or Oompa loompas) use to access the upper levels.
Elizabeth Bridge Info
Address: Erzsébet Híd, Budapest , Budapest 1013, Map ref: 47.490893, 19.049155,
Opening hours: public bridge, open all the time
Cost: no charge
Find this on: Absolute Walking Tour, Evening stroll, (Segway tour, Bike tour and evening bike tour)