Love locks are padlocks that couples attach to a public object such as a fence, gate, or bridge to symbolize their love. Typically inscribed with the couples initials, the keys are thrown away to show that their love is unbreakable.
The act dates back to over a century ago when a Serbian schoolteacher and a soldier fell in love in Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia. During the First World War, the soldier was sent to Greece where he fell in love with another woman and never returned. The young schoolteacher later died — supposedly of heartbreak. The story inspired other young women to write their names and their partners on locks and locking them to bridge railings in hopes to avoid a similar fate.
Today, love locks are somewhat controversial as some people see them as romantic gestures, while others see them as eyesores. Either way, they are becoming increasingly popular with locks popping up on bridges around the world from New York City to Melbourne.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, we thought we’d gather up our favorite Instagram photos of these symbols of love.
Southbank Pedestrian Bridge in Melbourne
Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris
Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne
Corktown Footbridge in Ottawa
Humber Bay Arch Bridge in Toronto
Mount Huang in Huangshan
Malá Strana Pedestrian Bridge in Prague
Butcher’s Bridge in Ljubljana
North Seoul Tower in Seoul