Siauliai Hill of Crosses
The Siauliai Hill of Crosses is a center of national pilgrimage just north of the small industrial city of Siauliai.
Many thousands of crosses cover a small hill. Ranging from tiny crucifixes to enormous metal or wooden crosses, they represent the Lithuanian peoples spiritual devotion and also act memorials to the thousands who have died during the country’s many uprisings and oppressions.
The tradition of placing crosses in this spot dates back to the founding of the city of Siauliai in 1236. Despite being levelled three times by the Soviets in the 1960s and 70s, local people and pilgrims replaced the hill and once again covered it with crosses, flouting the attempts by the Soviet army and the KGB to barricade the site.
Today the Siauliai Hill of Crosses is internationally renowned and stands as a protected and powerful symbol of Lithuanian national faith, spirit and identity. Each year it is visited by thousands of people, many of who leave their own cross. Pope John Paul II visited here and blessed the site in September 1993.
Siauliai Hill of Crosses is 16km (10mi) from the town of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay).