On our Baltic road trip we made a stop at the Hill of Crosses. Being in all the guide books, I was expecting a cheeky tourist site that we would check out, breeze through and head back on the road west. As we started walking up the pathway towards the hill, my interest grew ten-fold. I was immediately taken by the scale of the place. It’s hard to imagine multiple hundreds of thousands of crosses, you need to stand in the middle of them to really appreciate the grandeur. What was supposed to be a quick stop ended up being a good walk of over an hour and hundreds of pictures taken. I likely could have stayed much longer.
A little background on the Hill of Crosses. It’s not far from the town of Šiauliai in Northern Lithuania – the roads there are great by the way. It likely started with Pilgrims laying crosses on the hill in the early 1800s. As the site grew in popularity, the Russians bulldozed it – but people kept coming, kept leaving crosses by the hundreds. It’s reached such an important place in Christianity now, it was even visited by the Pope in 1993.
Here’s a nice story about it from The World is a Playground (visit them for more pics)
Another legend describing the origin of the crosses relates to a Lithuanian farmer whose daughter was extremely ill. One night he had a dream in which a white clothed woman appeared and told him to make a wooden cross and place it on a nearby hill. If he followed her instructions his daughter would be cured. He did as he was told and returned home to find his daughter in good health. Others flocked to the hill to place crosses in the hope that similar miracles would be granted to them.The World is a Playground
I really enjoyed our quick stop here. If you are ever in the area it really is worth the stop. TIP: You can skip the paid parking, drive just a little further down the road and park off to the side. The walk to the hill is about the same distance as the paid lot. I also read a reader question, asking ‘Is the Hill of Crosses dangerous’? The answer is an easy no, not at all. The place is surrounded by farmland and pleasant tourist – no scammers that I could see. The pathways themselves through the crosses are cleared and easy to walk on. The hill itself is not too big, an easy walk for just about everybody.
Here are the rest of my pictures of the Hill of Crosses, hope you like.