Shrouded in superstition and romance, love padlocks, aka love locks, are a worldwide trend that have been spotted everywhere from Budapest to Paris to Seoul to Moscow. They even made an appearance in Parks and Recreation's 100th episode . Traditionally, the padlocks are affixed by a couple to symbolize their eternal love, but the origin is unknown.
What we do know is that in Rome the padlocks on the Ponte Milvio bridge are attributed to Federico Moccia's book I Want You, and the padlock tradition in Serbia began with a legend dating back before WWI about a woman who died of a broken heart. Serbian girls would write down their names with their loved ones on padlocks and affix them to the bridge where the infamous lovers used to meet, Most Ljubavi (the Bridge of Love). In Fengyuan, Taiwan, the locks are attached in pairs to an overpass in the city's train station and called "wish locks." The story goes that the trains generate a magnetic field that energizes the locks, granting the wishes. And according to a legend in Montevideo, Uruguay, there's a fountain where if you put a lock in it with the initials of two people in love, they will return to the fountain and be "locked in love" forever.
But they aren't without controversey. Despite Venice, Italy, being known for its romance, officials have been trying to crack down on the tradition. The city's administration is not feeling the love and is worried they'll cause damage to the buildings and bridges. One would think the ritual would be welcomed since they are less destructive than, say, graffiti or gum walls (have you seen those? Disgusting), but if Venice shut down the trend it wouldn't be alone. Paris stripped the locks on several bridges in 2010, and Florence removed 5,500 padlocks on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in 2006. But love perseveres, as usually it's only a matter of time before they return. Take an international trip with us now to see the locks of love!
People take photos of padlocks on the Pont des Arts in Paris.
Love locks in Lübeck, Germany, are covered in snow.
A couple locks down their love in Paris.
A bedazzled love lock hangs from the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany.
A couple embraces by their love lock in Paris.
A love padlock is attached to NYC's Brooklyn Bridge.
A couple attaches their love lock to the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany.
Love locks are attached to Le Pont Des Arts in Paris.
People look at the Liebesschloesser, or love padlocks, attached to a fence on Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, Germany.
A couple gets romantic next to the love lock-covered Le Pont Des Arts bridge.
Love padlocks cover the Le Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris.
The Le Pont Des Arts bridge is covered in love locks.
A huge love padlock makes a statement on the Le Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris.
A pair of lovebirds kiss in Paris alongside love padlocks on the Le Pont Des Arts bridge.
Padlocks at a bridge in Moscow, Russia.
Love locks have made it to Venice, Italy.
Locks of love on the top of Nam mountain in Seoul, South Korea.
Locks of love in Paris.
A couple embraces after affixing their lock to the bridge in Germany.
Locks of love on the Leopold Senghor bridge in Paris.
Love locks in Moscow, Russia.
Love locks in Pecs, south of Budapest, Hungary.
Love padlocks on the N Seoul Tower on the top of Nam mountain in Seoul, South Korea.
A woman throws away the key on a bridge in Paris.
A couple looks at the love locks on Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, Germany.
Love locks are attached to a bridge in Paris.
Love padlocks are decorated and affixed to a bridge in Paris.
Love locks are attached to a wall on Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy.
People look at the love locks on the Archeveche bridge in Paris.
Liebesschloesser, or love padlocks, are affixed to a fence on Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, Germany.
Locks are lined up on the Leopold Senghor bridge in Paris.
Love locks on a bridge in Germany.
Love padlocks cover the Archeveche bridge in Paris.
Love locks are affixed to the Pont des Arts bridge in front of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
Love padlocks are clustered together on a railing on Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy.
A lone love lock in Paris.
Liebesschloesser (love padlocks) are attached to a fence at the Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, Germany.
Love padlocks adorn a wall on Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy.