Wire bridge. It’s a strange name, though that’s how the little bridge, which was handed over 195 years ago, on 9 August1826, in the Városliget, near today’s George Washington statue, was called. The small footbridge was a new technology at the time, as it was a cable bridge and the first suspension bridge in Pest.
Although she gave permission to expand the Buda Castle, Maria Theresa visited Pest and Buda only twice. Her first visit took place in August of 1751, the 11th year of his reign, 270 years ago. This was when the diet was held in Bratislava and during that time the royal court spent a few days in Pest and Buda.
Diseases and epidemics are part of our history, as we have seen in the last year and a half. In the XIX. century people began to recognize how each disease spreads and how to prevent them. The new epidemiological rules came into force in Budapest 140 years ago, on 1 July 1881. The obligation to report, and quarantine still helps to control epidemics today.
In the first half of the 19th century, the facilities of apartments in Budapest did not even come close to what is usual today. According to statistics from 1930, 23 per cent of homes did not have plumbing, only a third had a bathroom, and just over half had a toilet.
There was once a clay mine and then a sports field on the site of today's Széll Kálmán Square, where the tram junction and the pedestrian overpass, which defined the image of "Kalef" for decades, were completed 80 years ago, in June 1941. Then, in the middle of the square, a roundabout was created for trams, from where vehicles could depart in all directions. Modern passenger waiting areas and bus terminals were also built, but the development did not fully win the favour of the contemporary public.
Chain Bridge has been completely closed, and its renovation has begun in earnest. The 172-year-old bridge has been remodelled several times, first in 1914-1915, then it was rebuilt after World War II, and most recently, it underwent major renovations in the second half of the 1980s. So now the iconic structure of the capital is being renewed again. But what work will be done on the Chain Bridge over the next two years?
Today, Budapest's road network typically consists of paved roads. Although there are still dirt roads, their number is constantly decreasing. In Budapest, the paving of streets started relatively late, but 160 years ago, the city of Pest adopted a decree on what paved roads should look like.
A flood drain, a navigable waterway serving industrial sites, or a more elegant route? In the 19th century, several plans were made for the location of the Outer Ring Road. The issue was closed by law 150 years ago.
The aldermen of Pest were given plenty to think about when providing night lighting on the city streets in the 18th century, so in 1715, they forbade staying on the street without a candle or lantern after sunset. Lantern-bearers appeared, carrying candles and oil lamps in front of pedestrians. Oil lamps began to be put out in public spaces at the end of the century, but they only gave little light. The solution was the gas lamp, the first of which was set up in Pest by a scientist, experimenting physician, Lajos Tehel, on 5 June 1816. The lamp was lit up on the facade of the university building on today’s Egyetem Square. Now it is part of the National Museum’s collection.
Today car access to the castle is limited, and only midi-buses run within its ancient walls. Restrictions on access were introduced 35 years ago because traffic endangered historic buildings and the caves beneath the streets of the castle.
A war against rats was launched in the capital in 1931, but a mistake slipped into the thorough and long-planned campaign. Fewer rats died than planned, and there were many "civilian" casualties, like dogs, cats, and birds.
An escalator transported passengers for a few years from May 1956 at the Hűvösvölgy terminus of the Children's Railway. It was built as a kind of test. Its primary purpose was not to ensure the comfort of the passengers on the Children's Railway, then called the Pioneer Railway, but to educate the operators and users. At the time, the Budapest metro was already under construction, and the escalator needed testing too.
The statue of Saint Stephen has been standing in Buda Castle next to the Fisherman's Bastion for 115 years. Although the founding king of Hungary has always been highly respected in the country, the great work of Alajos Strobl was completed slowly. The first statue of King Stephen in Budapest was inaugurated in 1906 next to Matthias Church almost 40 years after it was first planned.
One might think that the Cave Church on the side of Gellért Hill is an old church, although it is surprisingly young, not a hundred years old, as construction of the chapel itself began in 1924 and it was consecrated in 1931. During the communist era, a reinforced concrete wall closed it off from worshippers, which was only demolished in 1992.
Hadrian was one of the most successful emperors of the Roman Empire. Once, he was the governor of the province of Pannonia. His governor's palace, built in the 2nd century, was in the settlement of Aquincum. The remains of the former huge building were discovered 170 years ago when the Óbuda shipyard expanded its site. The ruins have since been excavated several times on today's Hajógyári (Shipyard) Island.
Although World War I did not directly affect the home front, Budapest was not bombed by the enemy like in World War II, but because of the battles, the capital was struggling. In 1916, the state wanted to help. Food kitchens were set up to deliver vegetable dishes and pasta to the poorer quarters of Budapest.
The development of the Budapest underground network entered a new phase 50 years ago when the construction of the city’s third metro line began. Although the ideas changed a lot and the work planned for 15 years took 20, today’s Metro Line 3 is one of Budapest's most important transport corridors.
Fortunately, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences set the date of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin as 896, rather than the originally planned 895. In 1896, the official national millennium was celebrated with miracles such as the first domestic film screenings. The general public could see the screenings in two places: that of the Lumière brothers were held at the Royal Hotel, and Edison’s were shown in Lágymányos.
Suburban railway lines (HÉV - helyiérdekű vasút) have been running from Boráros Square to the 21st District for seventy years. Csepel had a rapid transit connection before, with trains running on Gubacsi Bridge. The suburban railway line to Csepel is record-breaking in many aspects: it is the shortest line, the site of the most serious accident, and currently home to the oldest trains.
A law promulgated 185 years ago made it possible to build the first permanent Danube bridge connecting Buda and Pest. A long debate preceded the adoption of the bridge law because neither Pest nor Buda supported a private company building the bridge, as they did not want to waive their customs rights.
The first telephone exchange started operating in Budapest on May 1, 1881. Tivadar Puskás and his brother Ferenc built the equipment. Initially, the phone centre had only 25 subscribers, but its popularity grew steadily. Based on the telephone network and the telephone exchange, Tivadar Puskás's truly great invention, the Telephone Herald (Telefonhírmondó), was born and presented at the Millennium Exhibition.
Recently, an announcement was published about reusing the pieces of the soon-to-be-demolished Southern Railway Bridge in Budapest for other, smaller bridges, such as connections to Hajógyári Island. At first glance, it sounds like a rather strange idea to create a new bridge from a used one, but it is not uncommon at all, even in Budapest. There are several bridges in the capital, the elements of which were once parts of other structures.
The theoretical foundations of communism were laid by a German philosopher and a wealthy German merchant. Neither of them were workers, yet they hatched plans for a perfect state of workers. In addition to Lenin, socialism considered Marx and Engels to be the “apostles” of the system. Their portraits hang in all the most notable places and events, yet a statue of the two founders was only erected in Budapest relatively late, in 1971 on Jászai Mari Square.
One of the most controversial buildings in Budapest, the SZOT Resort on Rózsadomb, has been part of the cityscape for half a century. The huge 114-meter-long building of the health resort once accommodated up to 500 guests at a time, who were transported to the nearby Lukács Baths by a minibus. Contrary to the original plans, neither a cable car nor a lift was built. The gigantic house later stood empty for decades, but today it has been reborn as a luxury residential building.
Until the middle of the 19th century, anyone could walk down to the undeveloped, muddy banks of the Danube, but during a flood, nothing stood in the way of the water. The 12-kilometre-long embankments along Budapest's Danube Banks have become an essential part of the cityscape and protect the capital from floods. In connection with the freshly announced reconstruction of the Pest embankment, Pestbuda presents the history of these magnificent structures.
After a more than a two-decades-long forced break, the Museum of Transport opened in City Park on 2 April 1966. During World War II, in 1944, several bombs hit the building. Although the most valuable works of art were saved, the destruction was still immeasurable: in addition to the building, the bombing also caused significant damage to the collection.
There was a store in Buda that brought new colour and new quality to the slow socialist state store system. The modern design, the huge floor space of more than 22,000 square metres, and the relative abundance of goods contributed to the rapid rise in the popularity of the Skála store, which opened 45 years ago on 2 April 1976.
The green that opened on 1 April 1936 was originally called Lipótváros Park, then Rakovszky Park. It was given its current name in 1937 and has been called Szent István Park ever since. The site of the beautiful ornamental garden was once a parquet factory, and its construction was initiated in the 1920s by the President of the Public Works Council at the time, Iván Rakovszky. Újlipótváros' most popular park is 85 years old.
The sad year of 1956 brought other disasters than the brutal defeat of the revolution. Pestbuda has already reported on the earthquake in January, but another disaster struck the country in March. A huge flood wreaked havoc south of Budapest, and special measures were needed to protect the capital. Ice blocks were blown up near Kossuth Bridge.