This is a place of legends and peaceful revolt it carries a powerful testament of devotion mourning and freedom. Kryžių kalnas, first mentioned in writing in 1850 this was a place of mourning used by relatives of the victims of the Russian regime. The tsar forbids families to honour their dead refusing proper burials in cemeteries trying to suppress national identity and religious expression, the result was this Hill where crosses would appear by night only to be later removed by the tsar and again reappear. During the Soviet era planting, a cross was an arrestable offence. The place was bulldozed several times all the paths leading to this hill covered and ditches dug at its base yet somehow more crosses would appear overnight!
Other stories are that the Virgin Mary asked believers to cover the holy place with crosses in the late 19th century, or that this was a place of pagan traditions and sacred fires were lit here and tended by celestial virgins but most locals told me the first legend.
Pope John Paul II
In 1993 the Pope celebrated mass here in front of thousands of people and is message is still on a papal cross on the mountain:
“Thank you, Lithuanians, for this Hill of Crosses which testifies to the nations of Europe and to the whole world the faith of the people of this land”
How many crosses are on the Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas) in Lithuania?
By most accounts, more than 100,000 placed here for nearly two centuries, and many more were destroyed by the Russian regime. After walking around the Hill I have no ideiahow anyone can keep track of the number of crosses but there are a lot of them and people keep adding to it.
What’s the best time to visit?
Surely when it’s not raining or snowing, I can’t imagine being here on a rainy day. Because this is 12Km outside of Siauliai visitors tend to arrive in groups (by Bus).
We went just before lunch and still, there were quite a lot of people, nothing that would prevent you from properly seeing the Hill though. Because this is quite isolated there is no lack of parking places either on the private (paid) parking near the entrance or on the main road.
Do you need to pay?
No, there are plenty of small shops and souvenir places where you can buy your own cross but other than that only the private parking is paid.
Where is the hill of crosses?
About 12 Km north of Siauliai, in Northern Lithuania.