Throughout history, couples have left drawings on the floor, written words on walls and carved initials into trees to express their love for one another. Leaving a padlock or ‘love lock’ on a structure such as a bridge or fence has become another popular way of doing the same thing, but with a modern twist – a custom some believe may have originated in ancient China.

Couples would leave their locks, decorated with initials or names, in a place that they felt was significant to them. If this place was a bridge, they would secure the lock and throw the key into the water below, signifying their eternal bond together as a couple.

The custom of fixing a padlock to a bridge as a symbol of a couple’s love has now spread worldwide.

Recently the gesture has gained popularity and become so widespread that the issue has provoked debate amongst council authorities, local communities and tourists across the globe. Having love locks on iconic bridges, fences and lamp posts can bring a sense of culture to an area and a large collection of love locks arguably makes an intriguing visitor attraction, potentially boosting revenue from tourists. Some however are worried about damage to historical structures due to the weight of all these locks, and ask whether it’s worth having them there at all.

We look at some of the places in which love locks have appeared – and how locals and authorities have reacted to them. FULL STORY HERE

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