Seoul Tower Locked in Everlasting Love
By Park Ji-yun
Korea Times Intern
Commanding a spectacular night view, N Seoul Tower on Mt. Namsan in central Seoul is emerging as a must-see for a growing number of couples, young and old. Along the ground terrace attached to the tower, hundreds of locks are hanging, showing off the eternal love of their owners.
The locks hanging on the fences with the keys thrown away are meant to ensure sweethearts’ vows to never separate are kept.
The idea of hanging locks originated from local tourists a few years ago who saw the same thing at Tokyo Tower. It is now enjoying a renewal after two TV stars, singer Alex and model Sinae, were seen dating there in the MBC reality program ``We’ve Got Married.’’ N Seoul Tower’s ``Locks of Love’’ event was chosen as a reunion venue for the celebrities on June 15 and since then has drawn great public attention.
``Lock sales have increased sharply after the scene was broadcast,’’ said Lee Jung-hoon, a member of the tower’s management.
A couple ― Do-hyeon and Yun-sang ― visited the place to celebrate the 3,000-day anniversary of their first meeting. The lock they hung reads, ``CYS, KDH since May 1, 2000. Let’s love happily forever.’’ The couple said they plan to visit the ``guardian’’ of their love again when they have a baby. ``It is a very special moment for us as we promised to love each other at this beautiful place with all the other locks,’’ Doh-yeon recalled.
The venue has also become quite international as foreign tourists, mainly from the U.S., Japan and China, do the same when they go to the top of Mt. Namsan by cable car or foot. A landmark of Seoul, the tower is 480 meters above sea level, standing atop 262-meter-high Mt. Namsan.
``We’ve never seen such an event elsewhere. I think it is a beautiful idea for lovers,’’ said Michelle and Michael, a U.S. couple who received a lock as their seventh wedding anniversary present from a Korean friend.
Most of the locks are decorated with drawings and stickers while some cannot even be called locks. Some used chain locks for bikes shaped as hearts, as well as pink and red heart-shaped ribbons on their locks.
Now that there are so many locks hanging, tower staff members are worried about maintaining them. ``From the weight of the locks, the fences are starting to bend. However, we currently have no plans to increase space,’’ Lee said.
As the number of locks increases, so does the number of problems they cause. As almost all the fences are filled with them, it is hardly possible for children to enjoy the surrounding view.
Since the event includes throwing away keys to prevent locks from being opened, there is a danger that other people under the terrace might be hit.
The tower operator put up a sign instructing lovers not to throw keys away and set up a ``key bin’’ for them. Some couples also hang their locks in inappropriate places, such as road barricades.
In some cases, the locks seem to have no binding power for couples. Lee said he saw a man who had come two months earlier return with a different woman. ``I was pretty shocked since I did the same with my girlfriend,’’ he said. “Sadly, this episode proves that some loves cannot be protected even by hanging strong, hard metal locks.’’
However, no matter how much locks save true love, N Seoul Tower’s Locks of Love will likely remain a memorable event for many couples who are willing to share and express their love, he said.