Russian cruises are not only about exploring the beauty of the river and surrounding cities. Travelers also learn a lot about Russian history as well as traditions. One of the local customs are the “Locks of Love”. Just married Russian couples hang a padlock on a bridge after inscribing their names or initials on it and throw the key away so that their love is locked forever. Some couples use two inter-twined locks, each lock bearing their name. Family members and close friends also put the locks on bridges to lock their relationship forever.
In Moscow where many cruises start the city officials built a romantic pedestrian crossing over the Moscow River Canal and installed special iron trees for the love locks. Couples write their names on a padlock attach it to the tree and lock it.
The next stop on the cruise is often the city of Yaroslavl, which celebrated its millennium-long history in 2010. Yaroslavl is famous for the beauty of its embankments. The Volga and Kotorosl embankments from the Church of Elijah the Prophet back to the Transfiguration Monastery make a wonderful 1.5 km walk.
On the way, visitors enjoy the views of the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker, one of Yaroslavl's first stone churches, built in 1622. There is a gazebo on Volga's embankment where Yaroslavl newlyweds come to have a glass of champagne and fasten their lock of love and throw the key in the Volga River.
Volga River cruise also stops at Kostroma, where the streets fan out from a central square in a classical 18th and 19th century layout. Tourists explore medieval peasant homes and the golden dome of Ipatievsky Monastery as well as a museum. In Kostroma wedding love locks decorate the bridge across Kostroma River, connecting Berogovaya street and Yuri Erohova street.
In Kiev the love locks can be found on a pedestrian bridge over Volodymyrsky uzviz near the National Philharmonic building and in Odessa on the "Mother-in-law" bridge.
Who said that only the newlyweds can hang the padlock and lock their love forever? When you are getting ready to go on your Russia cruise do not forget to bring your padlock and hang it on one of the bridges along the way and renew your vows in Russia.
By Anna Abbasi (Discover Russia)