No, not locks of hair, but padlocks.
“Love Locks” started showing up in European cities in the early 2000s, soon becoming a craze, and can be found decorating bridges in many different places, such as Rome, Paris, Moscow and Cologne. Padlocks of all shapes, sizes and colors, sometimes with engraved messages of love and devotion, are padlocked onto the rails of bridges.
In Paris, we’ve seen masses of the padlocks on the Pont de l’Archevêché (the Archbishop’s Bridge), the narrowest road bridge in Paris, and on Pont des Arts. Paris authorities expressed concern about preservation of the city’s historic architecture and about safety after a section of the bridge railings collapsed. In June 2015 they took down all the panels with locks and replaced them with wooden boards that were decorated by graffiti artists with a padlock theme. The bridge will have plexiglass panels as the solution to locks on railings. However, people still attach locks to the railings on the edge of the river. It must be true that l’amour triomphe de tout! (Love triumphs over all).
These padlocks are an interesting concept and a potent symbol of enduring, unbreakable love that many couples/lovers obviously take seriously. So, we were interested to find that they also exist in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. The old city lies along the Ljubljanica River, spanned by many distinctive bridges. The most famous is probably the Triple Bridge, which connects the old town with the center of Ljubljana, Preseren Square. Close to Triple Bridge, just behind the riverside colonnade, the next bridge is the so-called Butchers’ Bridge. Joze Plecnik, the famous Slovenian architect, had designed a huge roofed bridge here, but it never materialized. This modern version took the same name, however.
Almost as soon as it was completed, the bridge’s railings were covered with padlocks. The bridge has interesting sculptures by local artist Jakov Brdar. Strange, but fascinating are the bronzes along the railings that look like frogs and turtles, and these too are thickly decorated with padlocks. The padlocks are really too heavy for the railings to support, so authorities regularly saw them off, but more soon appear. As we discovered too, these padlocks are a thriving business as you can buy locks just at the end of the bridge!