The first lion statue was removed from the Chain Bridge under renovation  in Budapest on Thursday morning. First, one of the lions at the Pest bridgehead was removed, the other will be in the next few days, and those standing at the Buda bridgehead will be taken away in the second half of August, MTI writes.

The lions consist of three blocks of stone, so far only cemented together. Overall, the three parts are very heavy, roughly equivalent to the weight of a bus. The sculptures will be taken off in three parts, and then they will also be restored in three parts - the communication manager of A-Híd Zrt. Said on the spot. Anett Puskár also pointed out that there are many legends about the lions, which were added to the Chain Bridge in 1852.

Lion pairs can be seen at the bridgeheads of the Chain Bridge (Photo: Balázs Both /

One of them is that the sculptor János Marschalkó, who made the four lion statues on the bridge, jumped into the Danube when it turned out that the lions had no tongue. However, this is not true, it was also possible to see on the spot that the lions have a tongue, he said.

The sculptures will be taken to a studio in Újpest for restoration. In doing so, they are the first to see how stable their structure is, as the limestone sculptures are also worn by the weather. The statues will then be chemically cleaned and repaired, she said. Restorers restore only those parts that originally existed. So there will still be only canines at the top of the statues' mouths, but the broken lower teeth will be repaired, she explained.

The southern lion statue of the Pest bridgehead in March 2021 (Photo: Balázs Both /

The lions will return to their place when the Chain Bridge is opened to road traffic, said Anett Puskár. The communications manager of A-Híd Zrt. told MTI: the renovation works of the Chain Bridge are progressing according to schedule.

The bridge is expected to be returned to road traffic at the end of 2022, by which time the four lion statues will also return to the bridgeheads.

Source: MTI

Cover photo: The head of the first lion statue was taken off the Chain Bridge (Photo: BKK)