Monday, 24 March 2014

The Hill of Crosses | Siauliai, Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity. The Hill of Crosses is a solemn testimony to the suffering, endurance and love of Lithuanians for their Catholic Faiths. the origin of the custom of placing crosses on the Hill of Corsses is unclear but it is proposes that this tradition began after the 1831 uprising of the Polish and Lithuanians Armies against the Russians. After the battle, the Lithuania has always lived under the oppressive violence of the Russians, only gaining total independence from Russian in 1991.

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.

Image credit Ian Britton

During Soviet occupation of the area that lasted from 1944 to 1991, the Hill of Crosses become a symbol of defiance. Three times during the Soviet occupation, the hill and its crosses were bulldozed. Despite these attempts to end the symbolism of the site, both locals and pilgrims soon once again begin erecting crosses.  The exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and 100,000 in 2006. Thousands visit the site each year with the most famous visit occurring in 1993 when Pope John Paul II cam to dedicate the site. A stone marker bearing his words, "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 the land" now lies at the foot of the hill. A hermitage has been erected nearby to assist visitors and the faithful are welcome to add their contribution to this unusual Hill.

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Dominik Pabis

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit schlaeger

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Jenny Thorpe

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Tanya Knight

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit milletre

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Dan

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Adam

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Stéphane

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit MyPixelCollection

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Andre

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Nick Hutt

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Steven Hannink

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, located in city of Siauliai, Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian nation indentity.
Image credit Jenny Thorpe

Today, the crosses number in the hundred of thousands. This eerie place attracts both locals and tourists. Walking among numerous crosses, some decorated with devotion to loved ones, one can hear the rosaries rattle in the wind. This little hillock has long been a potent symbol of suffering, hope, devotion, and the undefeated faith of the Lithuanian people.

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