Ljubljana’s Ironic Bridge of Love

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*This is my post to go along with this week's #FriFotos theme of bridges.


It's not a bridge you're likely to find on a map of Ljubljana. In fact, it's not a bridge most people talk about at all when it comes to Ljubljana.

Perhaps because there are other, prettier bridges in Ljubljana (like the Dragon Bridge or the Triple Bridge). Maybe it's because this simple bridge was only opened in 2010.

Or perhaps nobody talks much about it because it's called the Butcher's Bridge.

Well, as it turns out, the Butcher's Bridge is one of the more interesting ones in Slovenia's capital.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The Butcher's Bridge is a footbridge that spans the Ljubljanica River between the Central Market and Petkovsek Embankment in Ljubljana. It was built more as an art installation than anything, and features glass panels near the edges and some rather disturbing sculptures.

But it just so happens that this bridge is Ljubljana's version of a love bridge.

All along the steel wire railings, couples have attached padlocks etched with their names and clasped with their love.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The padlock thing isn't unique to Ljubljana — you can find similar love lock bridges in Paris (the Pont des Arts), Florence (the Ponte Vecchio), Cologne, Rome, and Dublin, just to name a few. No one is really sure where the tradition started, but there are now similar bridges in cities all over the world.

Couples etch their names onto padlocks, lock them onto a bridge, and then throw away the key as a symbol of their love.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The ironic thing about this particular love bridge is that the bridge itself seems to represent the opposite of everlasting love.

First of all, it's called the Butcher's Bridge. Not exactly romantic.

Secondly, the sculptures on the bridge are of things like: Adam and Eve shamed and banished from Paradise; Prometheus running (disemboweled) in punishment for having given men the knowledge of fire; and a variety of creepy-looking frogs and skulls.

Adam and Eve
Photo by Bryce Edwards, on Flickr (because I was too creeped out by these to take photos)

Again, not exactly romantic.

But perhaps the irony is on purpose — perhaps the love padlocks are there to help cancel out the more depressing themes of Butcher's Bridge.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Whatever the reason behind it, though, I would definitely recommend a stroll across this curious bridge if you ever find yourself in Ljubljana.

READ NEXT: Ljubljana: The City You Can’t Help But Love

Have you ever seen one of these love lock bridges on your travels? What do you think of this one?


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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21 Comments on “Ljubljana’s Ironic Bridge of Love

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  1. […] Then you pass Lovers’ Bridge (aka Butcher’s Bridge) with the love locks. Love locks on a bridge are a feature in other cities around the world. Nothing weird there. Then you notice the locks embedded in the rocks and it seems to take darker tone. Are the locks representative of a love firmly committed or of a love you can’t escape? You might convince yourself it’s the former until you catch this definitely disturbing representation of Prometheus. […]

    Love the article!! It is so fun to discover this now after falling in love with this bridge. It really had to do sth to stand out as it had to compete with charming bridges like the Dragon and the triple, as you mentioned..

    Lots of locks. Terrible rain poured down when I was visiting the area…

      Aww too bad! Ljubljana is amazing.

    great article! learned something today. didn;t know about that bridge and your post explained it well! thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Yes, the sculptures are creepy…. Of course, I may not understand the art.

      Haha, well then I must not understand the art either, because they really creep me out!

    funny, I’ve been 3 times to Ljubljana but never actually walked that bridge 😉

      Well you’ll definitely have to check it out next time!

    The padlock custom is quite popular in many countries and I’ve seen some bridges like that in Paris or Seville. What I like about your Ljubljana post is the closeup photos. The green lock in the last picture is beautiful! Nicely-done. 🙂

      I love the custom; I think it’s very sweet. This was the first bridge of this kind that I’d seen in person, though.

      Glad you liked the photos! I wish now that I had taken more!

    This bridge did showcase a strong dichotomy between grotesque and romance. haha Nice article – I only saw the bridge, I didn’t know the details behind it! thanks.

      Well consider yourself a little better educated now! 😉

    Amanda very interesting post! The irony of the bridge is funny and probably what makes it a bit more intriguing than the others. I have always loved those “love” padlocks!! I first came across them in Prague near the John Lennon Wall… Soon after that, I’ve started noticing them just about everywhere!

      This was actually the first bridge of this kind I saw in person! (I blame it on me not traveling in Europe very much…) But yes, definitely intriguing!

    I loved this bridge! The statues were pretty creepy though, hey?

      Um, SUPER CREEPY! I almost didn’t even go on the bridge because I didn’t like them. But then I saw the locks and couldn’t resist.

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