There are many strange places surrounded by mystery, mysticism and legends that we can find throughout the planet. Some of them are only known to a few but others have become tourist attractions that attract many visitors each year. In Vuela Viajes we have told you about some of these corners, such as the Celtic town of Skara Brae in Scotland, the tomb of Negrange in Ireland or the Island of the Dolls in Mexico. However, we still have many unusual places to discover. One of them is the Hill of Crosses , a sanctuary that makes your hair stand on end.
As its name suggests, this hill in Lithuania is full of crosses of all sizes. Would you like to find out more about it? Well, all you have to do is join us!
A Catholic pilgrimage site
As we were telling you, the Hill of Crosses is located in Lithuania. Specifically, it is located on the road that goes from Kaliningrad to Riga, about 12 kilometers from the city of Siauliai. It is a sacred place that is not only visited by tourists , but is also a pilgrimage site for believing Catholics. In fact, there are many who come to this place every year to leave their crosses that, on many occasions, include the names, supplications and intentions of the people who carry them. As you can imagine, the place is shrouded in an aura of legend and mystery.
The origin of the Hill of Crosses
Although there are several theories regarding the origin of the Hill of Crosses, most experts agree that the first crosses were placed by relatives of the rebels killed during the uprising of 1831. However, there are no written references to this place until 1850. In addition, it seems that the true custom of leaving crosses on the hill began when the tsarist authorities forbade citizens to place crosses on the side of roads and in cemeteries, back in 1863. Another version assures that the The first crosses were placed after the conversion to Catholicism of many Lithuanians who often fused the vestiges of paganism with the new Catholic precepts. And we must not forget that until the Christianization of Lithuania (14th century), this hill was a pagan place of worship. Of course, there are also more mystical versions, such as the one that ensures that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared next to the baby Jesus and asked people to place crosses in this place.
Attempts to destroy the place
Over time, the hill became a place of religious, but also national and cultural identity, especially during the moments of repression against Lithuania by both Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. In fact, during this last period an attempt was made to destroy the place on several occasions. However, none of them were successful, as the faithful placed new crosses there. Special mention deserves the one that Pope John Paul II placed in 1993, since thanks to this gesture, the place began to be known throughout the world.
Crosses of all shapes and sizes
As you can see for yourself in the images that we show you in our gallery, today many crosses can be found on the hill. According to a count carried out in 2006, the number rises to about 400 thousand crosses, although after 10 years the number could be much higher. Of course, there are crosses of all kinds of sizes, shapes, materials and colors. In addition, effigies of the Virgin Mary and images of saints can also be found. Then we leave you with our gallery , where you will find more images of the Hill of Crosses. Do not miss it!