Margaret Bridge in Budapest
Margit híd or Margaret Bridge (sometimes Margit Bridge) is a bridge in Budapest, Hungary, connecting Buda and Pest across the Danube. It is the second northernmost and second oldest public bridge in Budapest.
It was designed by French engineer Ernest Goüin and built by the construction company, Maison Ernest Goüin et Cie. between 1872–1876, the engineer in charge being Émile Nouguier. Margaret Bridge is the second permanent bridge in Budapest after Széchenyi Chain Bridge. This bridge leads up to Margaret Island, its two parts enclosing 165 degrees with each other at the embranchment towards the island. The reason for this unusual geometry is the fact the small extension to connect to Margaret Island was hastily inserted into the original design but not built until two decades later due to lack of funds.
The bridge's two ends are
- Jászai Mari tér (northern end of Grand Boulevard) and
- Germanus Gyula park (stop of Szentendre HÉV; Lukács Baths and Király Baths are nearby).
It is 637.5 m in length and 25 m in width.
All the bridges of Budapest were blown up by World War II Wehrmacht sapper troops in January 1945 during their retreat to the Buda side of the surrounded capital. However, Margaret Bridge had been damaged by this time, on 4 November 1944, when an accidental explosion destroyed the eastern span of the bridge. 600 civilians and 40 German soldiers died. During reconstruction, much of the original steel material was lifted from the river and incorporated into the rebuilt structure.
Margaret Bridge is presently the most heavily worn bridge over the Danube in Budapest. It is currently in a total overhaul, which began on 21 August 2009, when it was closed to road traffic for at least a year. Trams are maintaining a partial service over the bridge using temporary track during the works.
The works are finished now, pedestrians and traffic use the bridge again and the tram is running as well.
Soon after the bridge was inaugurated, it became a preferred spot for people seeking to take their own lives over personal or financial troubles. The wave of suicides inspired János Arany, a renowned Hungarian poet to compose a ballad about the jumpers. It was widely distributed in leaflet format, illustrated with Mihály Zichy's romantic styled intricate pencil drawings.
- List of crossings of the Danube River