The Hill of Crosses, located near the town of Siauliai in Lithuania is one of the landmarks of Lithuania. No one really knows the exact number of crosses people leave on and around the hill but it is still growing and must be counted in millions. There are small wooden crosses, or huge figures and altars.
No one owns or runs the Hill of Crosses. There are no tickets to buy or opening hours.
There are claims that the first crosses were planted in the Middle Ages, but the first written record is from 1850, and may refer to crosses planted in memory of victims of the 1831 rebellion against the Russians, whose burial places were unknown by loved ones. The number of crosses swelled after another rebellion in 1863. In the early 1900s, when we next have a record to refer to, there were about 150 crosses. Numbers dropped a bit after the First World War (we don’t know why – cross casualty?) but were up to around 400 by the late 1930s. Then things really took off.
By 1961, when the Soviet government of the time decided that religious sentiment had gone a bit too far, they had over 5,000 crosses to contend with. This they did with the aid of a bulldozer. In an attempt to stop crosses reappearing, the area was guarded by the KGB, rumoured to be infected with various ‘epidemics’, and there were even discussions about flooding it. But the crosses kept reappearing.
Despite all the restrictions, the bulldozers had another 1,200 crosses to crush in 1975. Thus the Hill of Crosses now is not just a site of religious significance, but a bristling testament to Lithuanian defiance and independence.
info taken from Lithuania In Your Pocket
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KateinDenmark (1634) 2008-08-11 12:52
Excellent way to capture the sentiment of the place. I like the fact you've gotten lots of different styles of crosses in one frame. Nice colors as well.
wag (651) 2008-08-11 12:53
Hello Kris, nice report photo job, really good info with narrative capture, tfs.
fanni (14379) 2008-08-11 13:14
good photo, interesting POV and title, useful note!
I'd like to add something to your note, if you don't mind :)
PS.If some people know more about it and , if necessary, can correct the following note or add something to it, please let me know :)
As I heard from my Lithuanian friends some time ago when I was in Lithuania, - according to the popular belief, the one who will leave a cross on the Hill will become successful and get rid of serious problems.
Also, as far as I know, besides scientific versions concerning the Hill there also are many legends. According to one of the legends, once there was a Catholic monastery on the Hill, and for unknown reasons it suddenly disappeared under the ground.
Then there was a time when a daughter of one of the peasants living in the surrounding villages fell seriously ill. Nothing seemed to be able to cure her illness, and so the father decided to put a cross on the sacred Hill. And a miracle happened: the child recovered.
Rumors about the miraculous place spread all over Lithuania, and since then people began come and leave crosses on the Hill, thus as if leaving their problems there.
People say that if you take a cross from the Hill with you, you're in for trouble.
pticaruh (276) 2008-08-11 13:41
Interesting to learn the existing of such a place thanks to ypur photo.
oriolm (1142) 2008-08-11 13:44
the work of thousands of people... great document