November is probably the least pleasant time to hang out in Kyiv. But if you’re here already, there are no reasons to be bored! There are still plenty of places that can tell you a lot of stories, and bring in some romance into your life. One of them is our Love Bridge.
A bit of history and legends
Where today is a busy Park Road, more than 100 years ago was just a fosse between to hills. To connect those hills in 1910 Kyiv city council organized the construction of a pedestrian bridge. An architect who made a sketch for the bridge was young Eugen Paton. Later this guy became a legendary engineer and specialist on welding constructions.
At that time the bridge didn’t have a name, but people associated it with love. Many couples had their secret dates there. And, unfortunately, many lonely people have cut their lives short by jumping from the bridge because of unshared love.
Death and rebirth
The Love Bridge suffered a lot during the First World War and the Civil War. In bad times for the city, people have taken all bridge’s wooden parts to heat up their homes.
In later decades the bridge was reconstructed, but its major rebirth only happened in 1983, when all the metal frames were replaced. Couples started a new tradition on the bridge: putting little locks with names on the metal frames as a symbol of commitment to their loved ones.
During the protests at the city center in winter 2013-2014, the bridge’s wooden parts were burned down. It was temporarily fixed by the volunteers but needed a serious reconstruction.
In 2015 Kyiv citizens were suggested to invest in the building of the Love Bridge, and have their personal wooden nameplates there as a reward. A message could be anything from names or favorite phrases to sharing their love to the city and to each other. The bridge was reopened two years ago, now it contains 320 nameplates.
Luigy and Mokryna
Near the bridge, there is a monument to a couple. Luigy and Mokryna met in 1943 at an Austrian concentration camp. Going through the hardship together, a Ukrainian girl and an Italian soldier felt in love with each other. However, after the war, Mokryna was forced to come back to the Soviet Union, and the couple was separated for decades.
They met again in 2004 with a help of a Russian TV-show ‘Wait for me’. The monument in Kyiv’s park captures the exact moment of their reunion. The couple stayed together for 9 years until Luigi’s death in 2013. Before he passed away, he, however, had a chance to see the newly opened monument. All the years since the monument is touching and inspiring Kyiv citizens and visitors and adds to the ‘love mood’ of the area.
‘Suicidal Bridge’ or ‘Kissing Bridge’?
Love Bridges’s official name is Park Bridge, just like Park Road. However, it has plenty of other unofficial names: ‘Suicidal Bridge’, ‘Devil’s Bridge’, ‘Kissing Bridge’, the ‘Little Paton Bridge’.
As for me, the name ‘Love Bridge’ covers all the history of the place: building, destruction, reconstruction, the fire, the locks, the nameplates, the dates and the suicides, the story of Luigi and Mokryna. Love has many faces and so does this place.
If you want to learn more secrets of Kyiv and find more hidden places, welcome to our Kyiv Walking City Tour. Dress warm, and we promise you, even in November, this tour will be fun!
Photos: Anna Charles, ZeFt