Lock Your Love
At a number of locations in Asia love padlocks are affixed to high bridges or towers, and the keys are thrown to the depths below to symbolise commitment. In some cases, the locks started out in one location, and once that location was overwhelmed by a blizzard of padlocks, the locks began to spread to additional fences, bridges and statues, as happened in Pécs, Hungary. Most commonly, the couples installing love padlocks on fences and bridges are young and simply dating, but in some areas newlyweds are the main culprits. Love padlocks can be found throughout Europe, as well as in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Uruguay and even as far as Guam.
Who said it’s the thought that counts? Throughout history, romantics have constructed elaborate monuments to show just how much they care – though the love-story endings weren’t always so happy. A simpler way to symbolise your love is affixing a padlock to a landmark at cities around the world.
In Pécs, students and lovers began to clamp padlocks to a wrought-iron fence in a narrow street linking the mosque in the city’s main square and a magnificent medieval cathedral in the 1980s, either as a symbol of the struggle to complete their studies or a symbol of their commitment to one another. However, after the fence was completely covered and no more padlocks could be added, couples, both locals and tourists, began attaching them to fences and statues throughout the town centre.
Ponte Milvio, Italy
Starting at the Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome the ritual of love padlocks has gained a significant presence in Italy, mainly inspired by a fictional event in the book “I Want You” by Italian author Federico Moccia, which was later made into the film “Ho Voglia Di Te.”
Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic
In Prague, love padlocks can be found in Malá Strana district on a small pedestrian bridge over a sidearm of the Vltava in front of a water wheel. The name of the adjacent street is Velkopřevorské náměsti (Grand Priory Square; the location is just next to John Lennon Wall.) Padlocks have also started to appear at the Charles Bridge (Karlův most), attached to the ornamental rails and some sculptures.
At the cliff-side on Enoshima Island is a pavilion with a bell that is dedicated to the mythology of a five-headed dragon who loved a heavenly maiden until he died. Couples ring the bell together as a vow of eternal love and a huge number of them emphasize that love with a lock on the fence around the pavilion.
Mount Huangshan, China
Nearly every metal chain-link fence or metal pole at Mount Huang in China has been adorned with padlocks, where it is customary to “lock your soul” together and then throw the key over the edge of the cliff into the misty valleys below. It is suggested that the custom of locking a padlock and throwing away the key’ probably originated in China.
N Seoul Tower, Seoul, South Korea
Along a fence on the ground terrace attached to the N Seoul Tower on Mount Namsan in central Seoul, thousands of locks have been hung to represent the love of their owners. The keys for the locks are often thrown away as insurance for the sweethearts’ vows to never separate. Due to the danger posed by thrown keys, the tower operator has posted warning signs and provided a “key bin” for their disposal.
In Fengyuan, Taiwan, young people affix padlocks engraved with wishes (often of love or success) to an overpass at the city’s train station. These locks are known
“... where it is customary to “lock your soul” together and then throw the key ...”
as “wish locks”; a common practice is for lovers to affix two padlocks close to each other or padlocked together (“heart locks”). Local legend holds that the magnetic field generated by trains passing underneath will cause energy to accumulate in the locks and fulfil the wishes.
Guam, United States of America
Love padlocks can be seen in Guam’s Two Lovers’ Point (Puntan dos Amantes). Couples usually affix the lock to the metal barrier on the viewing deck overlooking the ocean, usually with their names on it or even important dates. A variation of this is the use of plastic bag tags that are sometimes purchased at the nearby souvenir shop when a conventional padlock is unavailable.
Mount Keira, Wollongong, Australia
Love padlocks have begun appearing along the fence at the Mount Keira lookout, just west of Wollongong, and along the Sea Cliff Bridge on the Grand Pacific Drive, just north of Wollongong. Wollongong is a major city in New South Wales, just south of Sydney. It is understood that the local council removed the love padlocks located on the Sea Cliff Bridge several years ago.
A fountain in Montevideo, on Avenida 18 de Julio a few blocks east of Plaza Independencia, is designated for love padlocks. A plaque is affixed to the front of the fountain that provides an explanation in both English and Spanish. The English version of the text reads, “The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked.”
Koibito no oka enoshima land
Charles Bridge Mala Strana
Pad Lock Trees N Seoul
Montevideo Love Fountain