March 25, 2014

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania



Hug for my mother’s Lithuanian cousins,

HILL OF CROSSES  (Kryžiu Kalnas)


Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

It’s an ever-changing never-defeated religious folk art gallery, a historical and architectural monument in an unlikely place that attracts people savoring its peace, spirituality, authenticity, and sacred nature.

The Hill of Crosses (Kryžiu Kalnas) is a stunning complex that consists of thousands of crosses of various materials and sizes brought and left there by the people, mostly Lithuanians.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

An oblong mound, once the location of a castle of Semigallian tribe (until it was burned down by the Crusaders), sits next to a former ancient village dating to the 13th-14th. The mound, somewhat similar to a saddle, stands on a plain surrounded by the valleys of Kulpė Stream and its nameless tributaries. It measures only 8-10 meters high and 40-50 meters wide.

The Jurgaičiai-Domantai mound, located in the countryside 9 miles outside the small northern Lithuanian city of Siauliai, is covered with crosses.

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Hill of Crosses:

  • Many crosses appeared after the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus appeared on the mound in the 7th decade of the 19th century. It was Mary who supposedly encouraged people to put crosses at this place.
  • Crosses first began to appear at this spot in the thirteenth century, shortly after the city of Siauliai was founded in 1236. The city was controlled by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses seems to date from this period and may have risen as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance toward foreign invaders.
  • The first crosses were erected on the hill by the next-of-kin of the rebels who fell in the 1831 rebellion against Russia. Family members were not permitted by the Tsarist reign to pay proper tribute at the graves of their relatives. The Hill of Crosses became a place of vows.
  • There was a Lithuanian tradition of leaving the crosses on the road and most beautiful sites. The story is that each person who put his own cross on this mountain would become a (more…)

July 11, 2008

BRAMBLES (Brief RAMBLES) 1-6 July 1, 2008

In a world where there is so much to complain about, a good attitude is a welcome relief. However, on a couple of occasions I’ve found that a bad attitude produces surprising results. Two sections of this issue of BRAMBLES— SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO BE SELF-CENTERED AND OBNOXIOUS…. and SASSINESS WORKS AGAIN…— report these occasions. TREASURES AMIDST CHAOTIC CLUTTER is the third piece in today’s offerings.


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