The Mountain of Crosses, a fascinating and mysterious place

The Mount of Crosses – Kryžių kalnas in Lithuanian – is a pilgrimage site located about 12 kilometers north of the city of Šiauliai, popularly known as the capital of Northern Lithuania.

SEE ALSO: 7 Stories of People Waking Up After Being Declared Dead

Mountain of Crosses Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania

Over the centuries, not only crosses, crucifixes, sculptures of national patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of small effigies and rosaries carried by Catholic pilgrims have accumulated in this place. The precise number of crossings at this location is unknown, but estimates made in 1990 said there were 55,000. In 2006 they ventured to conjecture another number and raised the number to 100,000.

The history of Šiauliai takes us back to 1236, when it was founded. During the 14th century, the city was taken over by the Order of the Teutonic Knights, an event that began more than six hundred years of repression of national and religious identity. By 1795, Šiauliai was incorporated into Russia, but ended up being returned to Lithuania in 1918. During World War II the Germans captured the city, but Russia retook it at the end of the conflict. From 1944 until Lithuania’s independence in 1991, Šiauliai was part of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, which in turn belonged to the USSR.

Through all those years of national and religious repression, the Mount of Crosses served as a symbol of freedom and hope. The Christian crosses were removed several times by the Soviets, who went as far as trying to level the hill, incinerate the crosses or turn them into scrap metal, and then cover the area with garbage and sewage. These desecrations took place in 1961, 1973, and 1975. After each desecration, locals and pilgrims from all over Lithuania quickly replaced the crosses on the holy mountain.

The history of the Mount of Crosses, and the determination of Lithuanians to preserve their national and religious freedom, quickly spread around the world.

This humble hill has become a symbol of man’s determination to be free and worship his God. We may marvel at the size, variety, and number of crossings, but the site represents something much bigger than just a tourist attraction. The crosses have been placed there by pilgrims from all over the world, people who have wanted to leave their mark or the memory of a loved one on this hill of recognition and respect for the unwavering faith of the people of Šiauliai.

Hill of Crosses Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (1)
Kryziu Kalnas, Lithuania (2)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (3)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (4)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (5)
Kryziu Kalnas, Lithuania (6)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (7)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (8)
Kryziu Kalnas, Lithuania (9)
Kryziu Kalnas Lithuania (10)
Kryziu Kalnas, Lithuania (11)

Related: Jacob’s Well – a place as beautiful as it is dangerous



Leave a Reply