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Nine-arched Bridge

A truly iconic landmark in Hortobágy, the grandest and longest of similar Hungarian stone constructions was built in 1833 according to the plans of Ferenc Povolny. The nearby area is the venue of the renowned annual fair and open-air market of handicraft traditionally held on August 20. Legend has it that the “Nine-Hole” Bridge came into being when the nine lovers of an infamous outlaw (with the local gendarmes closing in on him) held hands and helped their beau cross the river on their shoulde

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Already as long ago as the early Middle Ages there must have been a safe river crossing in the middle stretch of the river on the Hortobágy, where the salt from the Transylvanian salt mines was carried on rafts along the Salt Road from the Tiszafüred Haven to the area beyond the river Tisza. The existence of the bridge was inseparably connected with collecting tax along the carriageway between Debrecen and Pest-Buda. The right of Magistrate Debrecen to collect tax on the Puszta, which at that time belonged to the landlords Hunyadi, was confirmed by a charter of Erzsébet Szilágyi dated in 1461. This right was reconfirmed by the Diploma of Emperor Leopold I issued in 1697.

Since maintaining the old wooden bridge, which was frequently exposed to harsh weather and floods, was a very costly business for the magistrate, the three best masons in Debrecen were invited to make plans and calculations for the building of a new permanent bridge at the Hortobágy Inn. The winner was Ferenc Povolni, who designed a nine-arch bridge. Construction was soon started by György Litsman.

It is worth noting here that the Empire’s Architectural Authority was of the opinion that, with a view to the frequent high floods and drifting ice, a bridge with fewer but higher arches should be built instead. The construction of the bridge was finished in 1833. The bridge proved to be long-lasting since the arches of the bridge were built of dacite tuff carried here from the neighbouring hills. The nearly 180-year-old Nine-Arch-Bridge is the longest stone bridge in Hungary today.

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