The Fuente de los Candados (Fountain of Locks) is a stone fountain on a street corner in Montevideo. It would be a fairly forgettable fountain under normal circumstances, were it not for the hundreds of padlocks attached to its surrounding railing.
When the owners of Bar Facal, one of the most famous restaurants in the city, installed a stone fountain on their street corner, they had no idea it would become one of the city’s most enduring symbols of love.
The owners had imported the small fountain, made from volcanic stone, from Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. It sat in storage for 15 years until they finally decided to install it outside the bar, right on the corner of Avenida 18 de Julio and Paseo Yi, a busy spot in the Uruguayan capital.
To protect the fountain, a metal railing was erected all around it. And soon, something strange began to happen. Padlocks started to appear, attached to the railing and typically inscribed with the initials of two people. Initially, the owners of Bar Facal were baffled by this, but a bit of research revealed the cause: The fountain had contracted a serious case of the love locks. This international phenomenon had struck bridges, gates, fences and monuments across the globe—a symbol of love for sweethearts, but the bane of many a municipal authority. And now it had arrived in Montevideo.
The owners of Bar Facal were happy to let people place locks on the fountain’s fence (it was good for business, after all), and soon it was covered in hundreds of padlocks left primarily by loved-up tourists who were familiar with the craze. After a while, the owners decided to put a plaque by the fountain, explaining, in Spanish and English, the “legend” of the “young fountain,” and how any lock placed here with the initials of the two lovers would ensure their love lasts forever.
Know Before You Go
The Fuente de los Candados is located on the corner of 18 de Julio and Paseo Yi in the Centro district of Montevideo, outside Bar Facal. If you want to buy a lock, ask in the nearby kiosk.