10 places to hang a padlock of love

10 places to hang a padlock of love

If you're ready to lock up your love and throw away the keys, Clare Wilson has discovered 10 of the best places worldwide to see these cult symbols of devotion

1. Pécs, Hungary

Love-locking in Europe is generally agreed to have started in Pécs some time in the 1980s by smitten students. Head to Hungary's fifth largest city to see where it all began in Janos Pannonius street between the cathedral and northern part of Széchenyi tér.

Pécs was one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010, so once you've affixed your padlock, there's plenty to see and do. Check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cella Septichora, or one of the city's museums before heading to a cukrászda (patisserie) for some local cream cakes.

2. Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany

Since 2008, lovers have attached their padlocks to Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne and thrown the keys into the Rhine. Although Deutsch-Bahn (the owners of the bridge) initially objected, the 'Liebesschlösser' are now an established attraction.

The pedestrian and rail bridge connects the train station with the cathedral, Kölner Dom, which took 632 years to complete and is one of the most well known architectural monuments in Germany.

3. Huangshan, China

Although Pécs takes credit for love-locking in Europe, some believe the tradition originated in China. You'll find these eternal mementos all around the country but one of the best places to see love-locks is Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province, known as 'China's loveliest mountain'.

The mountain's beautiful scenery and surroundings inspired classic Chinese poets and painters; think dramatic peaks, rugged trees and seas of clouds. The area's romantic atmosphere spans from local legend that a beautiful girl fell in love with a poor man. Her father insisted she married a rich man instead, but on their wedding day, the girl escaped with her poor lover up Huangshan, and they threw themselves off the mountain to be together forever.

Nowadays, less drastic lovers attach padlocks to chains and railings on Lotus Peak, and throw the keys off the mountainside in memory of this legend.

4. Ponte Milvio, Rome

Following the success of Federico Moccia's book and 2006 film 'Ho voglia di te di' ('I Want You'), the lampposts of Rome's oldest bridge, Ponte Milvio, became a popular destination for attaching Lucchetti d'Amore. So much so, that the additional weight of iron was threatening the structure of the bridge.

Well, the course of love never did run smooth... To allow sweet-hearts to continue, authorities set up chains on the bridge where locks can be attached and a website where you can latch on in 'virtual reality'.

5. Luzhkov Bridge, Moscow

Locks started appearing on the trees of Moscow's Luzhkov Bridge (which spans the Vodootvodny Canal near the Kremlin and Red Square) and the nearby embankment in 2007. Over the last five years, it has become so popular the real trees have been replaced with iron versions so they don't collapse under the weight of Russian love.

6. Puntan dos Amantes, Guam

The Pacific doesn't get more idyllic or remote than Micronesia, the diver-friendly specks in the vast ocean where you'll find the island of Guam. When you get there, Puntan dos Amantes (Two Lovers' Point) in Tumon Bay is probably the most remote spot you'll find love-locking, but it's hugely popular spot thanks to a local tale, almost identical to the Huangshan legend, of a forbidden love that came to a similarly tragic end on the clifftop.

Padlocks are attached to a fence at the point, you can even buy heart shaped locks from vendors if you haven't brought your own.

7. North Seoul Tower, South Korea.

Love locks have appeared all over North Seoul Tower on Mt Namsam in central Seoul. Couples looking to escape the hustle of bustle of the city head to Mt Namsam for a bit of comparative peace and stunning views across the capital.

Thousands of padlocks adorn the tower's railings and the locking has become so popular, a sign has been erected reading: "A Promise for Endless Love 'I Love You.'"

8. Paris

One of the world's most romantic cities has turned its nose up at the padlocking phenomenon; when love-locking sprung up in the early 2000s, authorities unceremoniously cut padlocks off bridges and monuments around the city. Despite official disapproval, displays of fidelity are popping up around the city again, especially on the Pont de l'Archevêché, which crosses from the left bank of the Seine to Notre-Dame Cathedral.

If another crackdown means you can't find or hang a padlock, search out the mosaic hidden in the heart of Montmartre that tells you how to say 'I love you' in more than 250 languages. 'Le murs de Je t'aime' (or 'The Wall of "I love you"') is in the Place des Abbesses, near the Abbesses metro station and admission is free.

'Padlock of love' is 'cadenas de l'amour', in case you were wondering...

9. Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic

Explore Prague's baroque quarter, Mala Strana (the area just below Prague Castle on the left bank of the river Vltava), to find Prague's love locks. Bypassing the city's famous Charles Bridge, lovers in the Czech capital have colonised gates along the canal instead.

The John Lennon Wall, dedicated to peace and love after his murder in 1980, is nearby.

10. Montevideo, Uruguay

The padlock trend is spreading far and wide and has even reached Latin America. It might not have the widespread fame of Rome's Trevi Fountain, but a fountain in Montevideo, Uruguay is doing its best. A plaque invoking a local legend attached to a fountain on the city's Avenida 18 de Julio, is encouraging lovers to secure their tokens of fidelity and to return so that their love will be sealed forever.

The plaque, in English and Spanish 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."

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