‘Til Death Do Us Part – Love Locks Based on a Story of Unrequited Love

by MSO
The Bridge of Love in Serbia is filled with love padlocks which were put there after the death of a Serbian woman who lost her love.

A young woman reads some of the descriptions on the love padlocks on the railing of the Bridge of Love in Serbia.

In recent years love padlocks have become a new phenomenon occurring on bridges in major cities around the world. The practice, however, goes back much further, to the start of World War I in fact, that begins with a young couple in Serbia.

As the legend goes a schoolmistress named Nada fell in love with a young Serbian officer named Relja and the couple became engaged. Relja went to war in Greece after the collapse of the Serbian Front in 1915 and while there he fell in love with a woman from Corfu. He broke off his engagement with Nada.

Nada, of course, was devastated and never recovered, she died shortly after of a broken heart. Young girls in the same village who knew of Nada’s story wanted to protect their own loves from a similar fate and so they took to binding their love with padlocks that would ensure they were together with their lovers until death. They started writing down their names with the names of the young men they loved on padlocks which they locked onto the railing of the Most Ljubavi, in English the Bridge of Love, which was where Nada and Relja often met during their courtship. The padlocks’ keys were thrown into the river below so no one could find the keys to “unlock” the love.

thousands of padlocks locked onto the bridge of love in Serbia

A closeup of the thousands of locks on the Bridge of Love.

The practice died for a while but Serbian writer Desanka Maksimovic wrote a poem called A Prayer for Love about the legend and now young girls again are adding their padlocks to the Bridge of Love.

Since the start of the millennium, the custom has gained popularity on bridges in many cities around the world including the Pont des Arts in Paris, Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Humber Bridge in Canada and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Top photo by: White Writer, Wikipedia

Bottom photo by: AcaSrbin, Panoramio

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