5 Jul 2018

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses is a unique place of pilgrimage near the city of Siauliai in Lithuania. The reason why people come to this place to erect crosses, leave little statues or effigies and rosaries is not really known. It is believed that the first crosses were placed there by relatives of rebels who were killed in the 1831 uprising. It then started in earnest when the Tsarist authorities banned the placing of crosses at roads or on cemetaries. The same happened during the Soviet rule. Crosses were banned, and the hill even became a forbidden place. 5 times the authories ordered the hill cleared. In the night of April 5, 1961 all the crosses were bulldozed and crushed, wooden ones were burnt and those made from metal were taken away to be melted. 4 more times the Soviets tried to get rid of this place of pilgrimage, but each time it was rebuilt, larger than before. Thus the Hill of Crosses became a symbol of an unshakable faith in  the people, their sufferings and hopes. There are now about 100.000 crosses all around the hill. In September 1993 Pope John Paul II visited this breathtaking place.
The art of Lithuanian cross making was inscribed into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Thank you very much Kristina !!!!

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