Paris bridge collapses under weight of 'love locks': Other places locked in same tradition

A couple stands on the Pont des Arts in front of padlocks hitched by lovers on August 30, 2013 in Paris. -- PHOTO: AFP
A couple stands on the Pont des Arts in front of padlocks hitched by lovers on August 30, 2013 in Paris. -- PHOTO: AFP

Love locks - the ritual of attaching a padlock to a bridge or monument to signify a couple's undying affection for each other - has garnered a passionate following in many countries.

But the romantic gesture took an ugly turn at one of the world's famous spots, when thousands of locks attached to the Pont des Arts footbridge in Paris caused part of the railing to collapse. An evacuation ensued.

It might be a novel way to express your love for your significant other, but opposition against it causing harm to structures - and being a general eyesore - has gained traction, most notably at the Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome when the authorities decided in 2012 to remove all the padlocks by force.

Earlier this year, two women in Paris started an online campaign called No Love Locks after becoming concerned with damage being caused by tens of thousands of locks being attached to some of the city's historic bridges.

Here are five interesting places around the world where the tradition is prominent.

Malaysia


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A fairly new addition, Love Lock Penang Hill was launched on Valentine's Day earlier this year in Penang. Located on an open air observation deck atop the scenic hill, lovestruck couples can purchase padlocks of different sizes to adorn the 24m-wide fence - markers, sprays and various stick-on designs are also available to decorate locks with.

South Korea

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The night view from North Seoul Tower on the 262m-high perch of Mt. Namsan in central Seoul is pretty spectacular, but so are are the countless "locks of love" hanging from the wall of a terrace there. It was wildly popularised after two TV stars were filmed dating there in a reality show, with the keys of the locks thrown away to symbolise the inseparable love vows between a couple.

Numerous complaints have arose from the locks' presence, among them a need to maintain them as well as views of the surrounding area being obscured. 

China

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Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui province is purportedly the place where this famous custom originated from - the tragic legend goes that a pair of forbidden lovers took their lives by plunging down the mountain cliff.

Other than eternal love, happiness and health also figure highly on the thousands of locks hanging from chains along the mountain's pathways.

Germany

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The Hohenzollern Bridge, a famous historical monument in Cologne, has been a popular destination for young couples since 2008. Couples affix their padlocks to the fences between the sidewalk and the tracks and throw the keys into the Rhine river.

A Dutch band called Nits even dedicated a song - titled "Love Locks" - to the bridge in their 2012 album.

Russia

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The Luzhkov Bridge spanning a canal of the Moscow River was initially laden with padlocks on its railings after a story about a newlywed couple sealing their vows there went viral.

They were removed after being deemed an eyesore, until locks started appearing on trees lining the bridge. These were also taken down, with steel trees erected to cope with the sheer weight of the locks. It is now a popular rite of passage for most newly married couples in Russia.