A symbol of love throughout Europe, Prague is no exception with the love locks along the canal near the Charles Bridge in Prague’s Mala Strana.
The origins of love locks have been attributed to the Italian writer Federico Moccia’s cult novel “I Need You”, written in 2006, however other sources, including Wikipedia, suggest the origins can be traced further back to China. Regardless of the origins, love lock walls have turned up all over Europe, extending as far beyond as Uruguay and Toronto, Canada.
The symbolism behind the locks – everlasting love. Lovers fix their locks on fences or gates, often throwing away the key in a romantic gesture of their love, locked together through time. Is this the ultimate act of “I love you”? or perhaps, a romantic location for young couples to dream, declare their undying love and ask for hands in marriage?
Love lock walls have become controversial – with cities cracking down on the walls of locks, removing them, citing the locks an eyesore in what would be considered a picturesque point of town. Concerns over bridges and overpasses becoming a destination for lovers who are “padlock happy”! The Toronto Star recently published a story – Love Locks Endure - citing exactly that – the trend of declaring one’s love with a lock is enduring. The Telegraph tells a similar story of cracking down – the question is – are they really an eyesore, or a vision of hope and love for couples around the world. Is this the modern day version of star crossed lovers? With Valentines just around the corner, will you be declaring your love eternal?
Lock locks, holding a superstitious nature to some, have become legendary in status (quoted from Wikipedia):
- In Fengyuan, Taiwan love padlocks affixed to an overpass at the city’s train station are often affixed in pairs. These locks are known as “wish locks” and local legend holds that the magnetic field generated by trains passing underneath will cause energy to accumulate in the locks and fulfill the wishes.
- On a fountain in Montevideo in Uruguay, a plaque is affixed to the front of the fountain that provides an explanation in both English and Spanish. The English version of the text reads, “The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked.“
Prague’s love lock wall is found overlooking the canal in the Mala Strana, near the Lennon Wall.
While visiting the Prague Love Locks, we stayed at The Golden Wheel Hotel, less than a 10 minute walk.