Siauliai Off The Beaten Path Tips by yumyum Top 5 Page for this destination
Siauliai Off The Beaten Path: 10 reviews and 24 photos
Some years ago the pope visited this site. A special platform was built for him from where he held a service. It is still there today, possibly awaiting the visit of the new pope?
Not just for catholic crosses
The first written record dates back to 1850 but it may have gone back to the Middle Ages in fact. It is thought that the 1850 is about the crosses planted in memory of the victims of 1831 rebellion against the Russians. After the 1863 rebellion the number of crosses increased and in the early 1900 there were already about 150. After the late 1930s the crosses multiplied rapidly. In 1961 the Soviet decided that these crosses show too much religion and they came with the bulldozer, but still people resumed planting crosses, so another estimated 1200 crosses came under the bulldozer in 1975. The cross planting was a way for the Lithuanians to show their independence and defiance towards the Soviet occupation.
Although it's called Hill of Crosses it should actually be "Hills" as there are several. I have visited three times now and every time it is different as people bring lots and lots of crosses many of them from Poland and even overseas. If you didn't bring one, then you can buy one at the many souvenir stalls.
church at Hill of Crosses
If you feel the need of more information or of yourself praying, then you may want to visit the church. It is located behind the hills and can easily be seen.
turn off - not to be missed!
If you drive yourself then you need to catch the road to Riga and just keep going (never turn left) until you see the sign on the photo.
If you go by public transport, the chances are slim that you can find a minibus that takes you directly to the Hill of Crosses site but after about 10 km you will have to get of at the turn off (sign in the photo) and then walk another 2 km along the road.
I've done it both ways but if you travel by bus get yourself a timetable from the information of the bus station and start walking back to the bus stop in time. Bring yourself a drink as it can be hot.
Currently there are some souvenir stalls on the site and a couple of smelly wooden drop toilets (you wash your hands in the nearby rivulet and bring your toilet paper). In 2006 they laid the foundation for a proper visitor's center, so there should be an improvement in the future.
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