Robin's Website

Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses is a pilgrimage site about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. It is not certain how the practice of leaving crosses on the hill originated,  although it is thought that the first crosses were erected here on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort by the next-of-kin of the rebels that fell in the 1831 rebellion. By continually putting up crosses on the hill, people express their devotion to Christ praying for his help and mercy. During the Soviet era, the hill gained immense significance in the lives of the Lithuanian Christians as it signified resistance towards the totalitarian communist regime. Independence in Lithuania breathed new life into the hill and it has become a symbol of the strength of the nation's faith. On 7th September, 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the site and celebrated the Holy Mass for 100,000 people whom had gathered here. In 1994, a cross was erected on the site using the crucifix that he gave to the nation. A cross blessed by Pope Benedict XVI was erected in 2006. In 2000 a Franciscan hermitage was consecrated nearby with the encouragement of Pope John Paul II. The Feast of the Hill of Crosses takes place annually on the last Sunday of each July and this has been drawing large crowds since being re-established in 1997. Although there are many rules and regulations at the site, the hill remains under nobody's jurisdiction and therefore people are free to build crosses there when they visit however they so wish to.

The approximate number of crosses on the hill seems to vary, depending on the source of this figure. The official website, as of May 2015, puts this figure at about 100,000. The sign at the site itself read 200,000 whilst Wikipedia puts this figure at 100,000 in 2006 and also on the same page over 400,000 in 2006, thus contradicting itself!

Below is a composite image of the site:

Link to official website HERE

Back to Top