As a midsummer dream is played out on Russia’s football fields, echoes of Shakespeare’s themes of undying love are evident elsewhere in Moscow’s iron heart. On Luzhkov Bridge, love-lock fever has spread. Rows of dedicated trees, laden with thousands of padlocks also adorn the surrounding banks of the Moscow River. This rash of public emotion is not unique to Russia either. Love declaration sites are springing up everywhere.
Verona, the backdrop for Romeo and Juliet, is seen as one of the most romantic destinations in Europe for such a purpose. Smitten visitors to this beautiful city can be seen adding a token of their own undying dedication to the gate within the courtyard in the form of a love-lock. Although undeniably the most appropriate place to make such a romantic declaration, it is by no means the only location.
If you want to declare your love in form of a small lump of metal and don’t want to go to Russia, Dubrovnik is one of the newer additions to the love-lock craze. Budapest, Benidorm. Lanzarote and Malta have also joined the list of bizarre destinations to show some metallised affection.
Said to be inspired by ancient Chinese custom. But also reported to derive from a melancholic Serbian tale of World War I or prompted by the 2004 movie, Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo. The true origins of the love-lock tradition are uncertain.
Retailers have certainly taken notice of the trend. Love-locks with or without names are available from a variety of online retailers and on the high street via a major British catalogue retailer. Names and initials can be carved on these specialised colourful locks, reinforcing the intent of a lifelong commitment.
The power of love
What was once seen as a very personal declaration has proliferated in a variety of locations to the point of annoyance to some authorities. And the label of willful vandalism has been attached to their presence in many areas of beauty.
In the mistakenly labelled ‘city of love,’ the famous love lock bridge in Paris was dismantled after concerns of a potential collapse. A million locks of up to forty-five tonnes of metal were cited as a contributing factor. The removed symbols of everlasting love have disappeared from public view. On a bridge in Canberra, public safety was given as a reason for their removal. However, not everyone is outraged by the love-lock intrusion and some destinations have adopted their presence as a tourist attraction.