A new romantic tradition was born in the Hungarian city of Pécs in early 1980s: as a public token of their feelings, couples in love would hang a lock with their names or initials on a gate in the centre of the city.
The tradition of hanging locks has since spread outside Hungary. Romance truly knows no borders. Amongst the cities famous for locks of love are Florence and Riga. Locks have also been seen in Finland, on the Frenckell Bridge in Tampere.
In fact, the sheer number of locks is starting to cause problems to these cities. In Hungary, one suggested solution for the problem is special lock fences, in much the same way that graffiti artists are provided with their own wall.
With approximately 153,000 residents, the City of Pécs is the 2010 European Capital of Culture together with Istanbul, Turkey, and the Essen and Ruhr region, Germany. The Pécs Capital of Culture year is based on the motto ‘The Borderless City’ that refers to the city’s multicultural tradition and diverse cultural offerings.
Text: Päivi Autere