Hill of Crosses

Hill of Crosses

Hill of Crosses is a famous Linthuania's symbol of defiance as much as a pilgrimage site. It is an old mound that lies under more than 100,000 crosses. As the wind blows across the fields, ornate rosaries swing on the metal and wooden crosses, filling the air with soft and mysterious sound of chimes.

Legends swirl around the Hill of Crosses. Locals say that you can glimpse a ghost procession of monks at the foot of the hill at sunrise, also the souls of the fallen pagan warriors are said to still haunt the hill at night. The tradition to place crosses on the began during the 1831, many of them reminders of quiet rebellion. After surviving the centuries the Hill of Crosses faced its most aggressive threat: The Soviet Union. The Soviet government tried to demolish the hill numerous times during the 1960s and ‘70s: they bulldozed it, burned the wooden crosses and removed the metal and stone ones for scrap and construction. But despite harsh punishments locals kept placing crosses here proving that people’s faith and spirit is stronger than bulldozers and intimidation.

After visit of Pope John Paul II the Hill of Crosses become a popular attraction for pilgrims and tourist from all over the world.

Helpful tips

Transportation. Hill of Crosses is located around 12km outside the city of Šiauliai. From Vilnius you can reach it by both bus and train. If you are traveling from Kaunas or Riga you can easily travel by bus. You can buy online tickets and check the schedules in Lithuanian Railways website for train, and for the buses you can check it here. From Šiauliai to the Hill of Crosses you will need to take a taxi or bus Šiauliai - Joniškis and ask for driver to stop at Domantai stop. You can also rent a bike or take the walk during the summer, when the weather allows.

If you have a rental car it’s an easy drive to the Hill of Crosses. Driving from Riga will take 1 hour 45 minutes, while from Kaunas around 2 hours and from Vilnius approximately 3 hours.

Places around. A pathway from the Hill leads to a modern chapel with the large window at the altar where the view of the Hill of Crosses is perfectly framed. Further from the chapel is monastery built by Franciscan Brothers in 2000 after the Pope John Paull II encouraged them to do so. Now this place is also open to the pilgrims who look for silence and peace.

You should also visit Šiauliai – a forth largest city in Lithuania also called the city of the Sun. Šiauliai was founded in 11th century and named after a famous Sun Battle. Besides The Hill of Crosses there are plenty things to see and to to in Šiauliai. While walking around the city pay attention to all small sculptures in the city center. Also visit St. George’s and Sts. Peter and Paul’s Churches. Walk through parks, visit museums and the most important Sundial square, where in the middle of it stands sculpture of "Šaulys" (Archer) also called "Auksinis Berniniukas" or "Saulės Berniunkas" (Golden Boy or Sun Boy), which became a symbol of the city.

Best of luck planning your trip to the Hill of Crosses!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Lithuania?

If you have anything in mind, please let us know and let’s discuss it.

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