Adam Clark Square – What on Earth?
Introduction to Adam Clark Square
The Hungarian version of Adam Clark Square is Clark Ádám tér, and yes that really is it’s name. So how did a Hungarian square, and a fairly important and central one at that, get such a name?
Actually two Brits both named Clark (though unrelated) were responsible for the construction of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. William Tierney Clark was the architect (who based this one on a smaller bridge of his over the River Thames at Marlow) and Adam Clark was the chief construction engineer, who later settled here. He did so much for the city and was such a character, that the square on the Western side of the bridge bears his name.
Adam Clark the saboteur?
He famously protected “his” bridge from destruction in 1849, when the retreating Habsburgs wanted to blow it up to slow the rebel forces. He was working on it for 10 years, and it was only freshly completed. Not surprisingly he was understandably fond of it. Apparently he flooded the chain chambers, where the ends of the great chains are secured into the rock of the hill, and also dismantled the pumps, so explosives couldn’t be laid there. Dynamite was tried on the main roadway, but this did not put the bridge out of action. Just a few weeks later, the Hungarian army announced that they would now have to blow the bridge for strategic reasons, and once again poor Clark went out on a limb. No action-hero stuff this time, but he did convince General Dembinszky to stand down.
Sights around the Square
The huge tunnel cutting right through to the other side of the Buda Castle Hill was also by Adam Clark.
Opening for pedestrians in 1856, and then for traffic in 1857. Interestingly enough, it contains several rooms and even flats at either end, one of which was for the home of the bridge-master. It also saw use as a Nazi headquarters during the war, thanks to the fitting of two floors. Being 350m long, approximately the same length as the Chain Bridge, the common joke goes that it was a cover under which the expensive bridge would keep dry when it rains. This square is also the zero point from which all distances point to in Hungary. There is a big limestone “Zero monument” on one side. Facing the huge Crest of the country (note the pushed-over cross at the top) is the lower station of the Funicular Railway that goes up to the Castle Hill. For those who prefer queuing to walking uphill…
Adam Clark Square Info
Address: Clark Ádám tér, Budapest 1013. Map HERE
Opening hours: public square, open all the time
Cost: no charge
Find this on on our tours HERE
Rent a Bike HERE