Love padlocks are a custom by which sweethearts affix padlocks to a fence or similar public fixture to symbolise their love.
Beginning in the 1980s, in the centre of the southern Hungarian city of Pécs, lovers began to clamp padlocks to a wrought-iron fence in a narrow street linking the mosque in the city's main square and the magnificent medieval cathedral, as a symbol of their commitment to one another. However, after the fence was completely covered and no more padlocks could be added, couples, both locals and tourists, began attaching them to fences and statues throughout the town centre.
Local authorities organised several attempts to discourage people from attaching the padlocks, by putting notices discouraging the activity throughout the town and removing the padlocks as vandalism. More recently, plans have been made to add a new iron fence near to the original to provide a legal site for couples to attach love padlocks, similar to walls set aside by authorities in some cities for use by graffiti artists.
Probably encouraged by the example of Pécs, lovers have started to fasten padlocks on the fence of the bridge at Szinva Terrace in Miskolc, a city in the northern part of the country.
Similar customs exist in Riga, the capital of Latvia, where married couples clamp padlocks on the railings of a bridge and throw the key into the lake below. The practice has also gained sudden popularity in Tokyo, Japan among young couples, and padlocks are appearing all over the city, especially around teen hang outs.
In Florence, Italy, love padlocks have been affixed to the railing around and near the statue of Benvenuto Cellini located at the centre of the Ponte Vecchio.
Love padlocks can be seen in Guam's "Two Lovers' Point" (Puntan dos Amantes). Couples would usually affix the lock to the metal barrier on the viewing deck overlooking the ocean, usually with their names on it or even important dates. A variation of this is the use of plastic bag tags that are sometimes purchased at the nearby souveneir shop when a conventional padlock is unavailable.
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