The Namsan Tower, officially known as the YTN Seoul Tower, is famous not only as an international tourist destination but also as a place where couples and families can celebrate their love. The base of the 777-foot tower is adorned with thousands of colorful padlocks symbolizing their owners’ promises of everlasting love, says Christopher Reynolds, a writer for The Dallas Morning News.

Completed in 1969 on Namsan Mountain in South Korea, the Namsan Tower is one of 40 tourist attractions around the world featuring “love locks.” These locks first appeared on the tower in the late 1990s, says Reynolds. Thanks to K-dramas and Korean reality shows, the “love lock bridge” at the base of the tower has become an increasingly popular travel destination.

Most of the love locks are custom padlocks decorated with romantic messages, but they also include heart-shaped bike chains and colorful ribbons, according to Korea Times writer Park Ji-Yun. For those who opt for the padlocks, the tradition is to throw the key off the tower after locking it to the railing or fence on the bridge.

Tourists and locals alike can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Han River, Seoul skyscrapers, and rural valleys as they take a cable car ride up the 800-foot Namsan Mountain, says Reynolds. Once they arrive at the base of the Namsan Tower, they can watch the scenery, take a tour of the tower, or add a love lock to the bridge. In the article, Park shares the experiences of several couples who visited the tower and left locks.

Korean couple Do-Hyeon and Yun-Sang sealed a lock to celebrate their 3 thousand-day anniversary and promised to return when they have their first child. American couple Michelle and Michael received a love lock from a Korean friend as a gift for their seventh wedding anniversary and traveled to South Korea to put it on the bridge.

“We’ve never seen such an event elsewhere,” said Michelle. “I think it is a beautiful idea for lovers.”

Although the love lock bridge is mostly occupied by the mementos of romantic couples, it is common for friends to add locks as a symbol of their friendship. Parents and children can also add locks to the tower to honor their familial bond, according to Korea Net writers Jeon Han and Yoon So-Jung.

Unfortunately, not even these locks can ensure a happy ending for every couple. Lee Jung-Hoon, a member of the management team at the Namsan Tower, reflected on how he returned to the love lock bridge several times with different girlfriends. He stated in an interview with Park, “Some loves cannot be protected even by… metal locks.”

Kassie Yeung, a 23-year-old dancer and influencer from Los Angeles, went viral after she shared a TikTok video of her traveling 6 thousand miles to Seoul to remove a love lock she left with her ex-boyfriend. According to an interview with Newsweek writer Utkarsha Laharia, she searched for about 30 to 40 minutes until she located the two-year-old lock. The video ends with her triumphantly removing the lock with a pair of wire cutters.

The Namsan Tower love locks can be a creative and memorable expression of love between partners, family and friends around the world. In the case of Yeung and others with similar experiences, the locks can also be a way of letting go of past relationships. Whatever the case may be, the love locks are part of a unique local tradition that anyone can enjoy.

Visual Credit: “chains of love” by hojusaram is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Comments are closed.