The mysterious Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses photo
There are many strange places and surrounded by mystery, mysticism and legends that we can find throughout the planet. Some of them are only known to a few but others have become tourist attractions that attract many visitors every year. In Hard Hobbit To Break we have told you about some of these corners, such as the Celtic town Skara Brae in Scotland, the tomb of Negrange in Ireland or the Island of the Dolls in Mexico. However, we still have many unusual places to discover. One of them is the Hill of Crosses, a sanctuary that makes your hair stand on end.

As its name indicates, this hill located in Lithuania it is full of crosses of all sizes. Would you like to discover it further? Well, all you have to do is join us!

A Catholic pilgrimage site

As we were telling you, the Hill of Crosses is located in Lithuania. Specifically, it is located on the road from Kaliningrad to Riga, about 12 kilometers from the city of Siauliai. It is a sacred place that is not only visited by touristsIt is a pilgrimage site for believing Catholics. In fact, many people come to this place each year to leave their crosses, which in many cases include the names, supplications and intentions of the people who carry them. As you can imagine, the place is wrapped in an aura of legend and mystery.

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The origin of the Hill of Crosses

Although there are several theories regarding the origin of the Hill of Crosses, most experts agree that the first crosses were placed by relatives of the rebels killed during the 1831 uprising. However, no written references to this place appear. until 1850. Furthermore, it seems that the true custom of leaving the crosses on the hill began when the Tsarist authorities prohibited citizens from placing crosses on the roadsides and in cemeteries, around 1863. Another version assures that the first crosses were placed after conversion to Catholicism of many Lithuanians who often fused the vestiges of paganism with the new Catholic precepts. And it is not to be forgotten that until the Christianization of Lithuania (14th century), this hill was a place of pagan worship. Of course, there are also more mystical versions, such as the one that ensures that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared next to the child Jesus and asked people to place crosses in this place.

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Attempts to destroy the place

Over time, the hill became a place of religious but also national and cultural identity, especially during times of repression of Lithuania by both Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. In fact, during this last period, attempts were made to destroy the place on several occasions. However, none of them was successful, as the faithful New crosses were placed there again. Separate mention deserves the one that Pope John Paul II placed in 1993, since thanks to this gesture, the place began to be known throughout the world.

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Crosses of all shapes and sizes

As you can see for yourself in the images that we show you in our gallery, today you can find numerous crosses on the hill. According to a count carried out in 2006, the number amounts to about 400 thousand crosses, although after 10 years the number could be much higher. Of course, there are crosses of all kinds of sizes, shapes, materials and colors. In addition, you can also find effigies of the Virgin Mary and images of saints. Then we leave you with our Gallery, where you will find more images of the Hill of Crosses. Do not miss it!

Go Inside Lithuania's Hill of Crosses | National Geographic (November 2020)

  • legends, religious
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