Thousands upon thousands of locked padlocks can be seen affixed to the fence across the unpronounceable Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, Germany. The phenomenon called Love Locks (or Love Padlocks), which many believe to have originated from Italy, is a new kind of vandalism where lovebirds lock padlocks bearing their names against fences, gate, bridge or similar public place to symbolize their everlasting love.
According to Wikipedia, Love padlocks have existed for quite some time, though there are no certain sources for their origin. In Europe, love padlocks started appearing in the early 2000s. In Rome, the ritual of affixing love padlocks to the bridge Ponte Milvio can be attributed to the book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia, who later made it into the film-adaptation Ho voglia di te.
A similar bridge in Serbia exist, where the practice of love locks can be traced to before World War I. The story goes as that there was a local schoolmistress named Nada, from Vrnjačka Banja, who fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other Relja went to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, Relja and Nada broke up their engagement. Nada never recovered from that devastating blow, and after some time she died as a result of her unfortunate love. As young girls from Vrnjačka Banja wanted to protect their own loves, they started writing down their names, together with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and affixing them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet.
Love Locks are frowned upon by the local authorities and owners of various landmarks. Some years ago, Deutsche Bahn, the Hohenzollernbruecke bridge operator, threatened to have the locks removed from the bridge but in the end relented in the face of public opposition.
Love locks are a growing phenomenon in cities across Europe. They have even appeared along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island in Canada.
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