Nowhere else in the world you will find such a place – where so many crosses are brought by people on the hill, embraced by legends, and fables. The Hill of Crosses is a unique sacral place, amazing and the only one of its size and history in the world.
This world well-known shrine is frequented by tourists. People of different nations and religions bring here crosses with their names, intentions, and pleadings for clemency.
The beginnings of this remarkable hill are shrouded in mystery. No one is really certain how or why this hill became a monument to Christ and to the Lithuanian nation.
The site was first mentioned as early as the 14th century. In more recent times, the Hill has become a source of national pride. This occurred during 1831 and 1863, when anti-Soviet uprisings occurred, and once again during the 50 year Soviet occupation of Lithuania, which began with the second world war. The Soviets bulldozed the hill three times and dug a ditch around the hill to stop anyone from entering this site. Yet people continued to plant crosses. Planting a cross was considered a punishable crime by the Soviets, yet crosses continued to appear.
Since at least the 19th century when Lithuania became a part of the Russian Empire, crosses have been a symbol of became a national symbol of the fight for independence. At that time, an estimated 35,000 crosses were already laid, varying in size from a few centimetres to 4 meters.
A special crosses can be found at the hill, is of the sitting Jesus. It was designed, as a symbol of those who believed in Jesus and were Catholics, but were not allowed to openly worship under the Russian Government. So they designed the sitting Jesus, who is sitting inside his house (under the roof), and worshiping in secret. Notice his very sad face! If you visit the Hill of Crosses, you can still buy these handmade “Sitting Jesus” statues. Pick one up they are said to bring good luck.
The other special cross, can been seen front and center, on the Hill. In 1993 the Pope John Paul II paid homage to the site in 1993 and donated a statue of the crucified Christ.
It’s a large, beautiful metal Cross with a marble base. The base inscribed, and signed by the Pope as a message to the Lithuanian people. The inscription tells the Lithuanians thank you for their belief in the Church, and belief in their faith.
The Hill of Crosses currently has over 200,000 crosses ,carvings and shrines at the site made out of everything from wood to metal.There are actually too many to count.
This little hillock has long been a potent symbol of suffering, hope, devotion, and the undefeated faith of the Lithuanian people.
So if you are in Lithuania this is a must see on your visit.Walking among numerous crosses, some decorated with devotion to loved ones, you can almost feel the proud spirit of Lithuania at your back .