A love lock is a padlock that lovers, or friends maybe if they’re the B(est) F(riends) F(orever) type of people, will lock onto for example a bridge or a fence in specific locations around the world. Often they will write their initials on the padlock and throw the key into the river or a lake as a symbol of their unbreakable love.
The tradition of wanting to symbolise eternal love with padlocks dates more than 100 years back. It is said that a young Schoolmistress from Vrnjačka Banja in Serbia fell in love with an Officer. The Officer had to go to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman and the engagement was broken off. The Schoolmistress never recovered from this betrayal and died from a broken heart. Following this tragic love story young women of Vrnjačka Banja were afraid the same would happen to them. So they started writing their names, and the name of their lover, on padlocks and fixing them to the railing of the Most Ljubavi bridge where the Schoolmistress and the Officer used to meet. Most Ljubavi means Bridge of Love.
The phenomenon has rapidly spread since the beginning of the 2000’s and you can now find Love Locks in most major cities around the world, with Paris, New York, Seoul, Cologne, Moscow, being the most significant Love Lock destinations. Even places such as Mount Huang in China has become a Love Lock destination.
Some authorities see the Love Locks as litter or vandalism, but others embrace the idea and treat it as a way to attract more tourists. This is what happened in Paris and lots of tourists, travellers, and locals have over the years come to the bridges over the Seine in Paris, especially Pontes des Artes, to symbolise their eternal love.
However, the heavy weights of the Love Locks turned out to be a problem for the bridges in Paris as part of the Pont des Arts’s railings collapsed back in 2014. A campaign tried to get tourist to take “Love Selfies” instead of tying the Love Locks to the bridges, but the idea never really caught on (wonder why…). So it was decided, for the safety of the people on and around the bridge and to preserve the heritage of the bridges, to remove the Love Locks. The grilles to which the locks were attached dated back from 1804 and will be replaced with glass partitions.
Our visit to Paris took us there just in time to see the estimated 45 tonnes of Love Locks before they were removed only a a few weeks later.
Visited April 2015
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