The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, or ‘Lanchid’, as it is known in Hungarian, was the first permanent bridge across the Danube river in Budapest. It links the west side of Buda with the east side of Pest. In 1848, after the Hungarian Revolution, construction of the bridge began. The bridge was officially opened in 1849. At the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. The bridge became a symbol of advancement, national awakening, and the linkage between East and West. When the construction was completed the two cities of Buda and Pest were autonomous cities; twenty years later they were united into the major cosmopolitan capitol of Hungary, Budapest.
When the bridge was opened in 1849, it became the first permanent bridge in the Hungarian capital. Its center span of 202 metres (663 ft) was one of the largest in the world. The lions at each of the abutments were carved in stone by the sculptor, Marschalko János. There is a widespread urban legend that the lions don’t have tongues, but they really do. They can only be seen from above.
In World War II, the bridge was severely damaged during the Siege of Budapest at the end of 1944. The Germans were retreating from Budapest and they blew up all the bridges across the Danube including the Chain Bridge. Only the Lions remained intact. The reconstruction of the bridge was started in 1947 and it was rebuilt in its original form and reopened in 1949, exactly 100 years after its original construction.
Stamps of the Chain Bridge – Some of the rarest souvenir sheets of Hungary were issued to commemorate the building of the Chain Bridge.
This souvenir sheet is one of the most expensive souvenir sheets issued by Hungary. It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Chain Bridge. The stamp in the center illustrates the “Symbol of Labor”
This set of 5 stamps above includes 3 regular issues and 2 airmail stamps issued to commemorate the opening of the bridge. It exists in perforated and imperforate versions.
The following 2 sheets are Air Post Semi-Postal sheets issued in 1948 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the building of the Chain Bridge.
These two souvenir sheets marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of the bridge in 1999.
One of our customers, Richard Hall, created a list of the Chain Bridge stamps that are in his collection. It is quite a comprehensive list and is included here as a reference. Thank you, Dick.
Year Cat # Subject
1941 576 Chain Bridge, Budapest
1945-46 708-722 Chain Bridge
1949 861-863 Chain Bridge (+ C64-65)
1963 1507 Chain Bridge
1964 1621 Danube Bridges at Budapest – Lánchid (Chain Bridge)
1966 1737 Chain Bridge
1966 1792 Chain Bridge
1970 2018 Budapest 1945 and 1970
1972 2182a Buda 1872 and 1972 se-tenant pair
1973 2227 Chain Bridge
1975 2360 Fishermen’s Bastion and Chain Bridge
1980 2653 Dr. Endre Hogyes
1985 2948 Danube Bridges at Budapest (souvenir sheet)
1989 3169 Parliament, Chain Bridge (souvenir sheet)
1993 3414 Chain Bridge and Buda Castle
1994 3479 View of Budapest
1999 3680 Chain Bridge (souvenir sheet)
2001 3770 Hungarian History – c) Chain Bridge, e) Parliament
2001 3771 Hungarian History – c) Chain Bridge
2003 3868 Comnet
2005 3953 Chain Bridge
2007 4045 Scenes of Budapest – Chain Bridge, Parliament, Heroes Square
2007 4052 Chain Bridge
2009 4143 Chain Bridge
1961 B223a Panorama of Budapest (se-tenant strip of 4)
1969 B270 Chain Bridge
1970 B276 Fishermen’s Bastion, Coronation Church, Chain Bridge
1971 B288 Views of Buda, 1777, and Budapest, 1970 (souvenir sheet)
1971 B293 Liberation Monument, Chain Bridge (souvenir sheet)
1982 B328 Parliament, Chain Bridge, Castle
1949 C64 Chain Bridge
1949 C65 Chain Bridge
1949 C66 Chain Bridge (+ 861-863)
1957 C174a Old Buda, Budapest se-tenant pair
1957 C178 Chain Bridge
1958 C196 Plane over Chain Bridge, Budapest
1967 C274 Plane over Budapest
1976 C364 Tourist Publicityxz
1977 C374 Parliament, Chain Bridge (sheetlet)
1948 CB1D Chain Bridge
1948 CB2 Chain Bridge
1974 CB33a Lemberg + Budapest se-tenant pair