"Blown up by Soviets :-( and rebuilt :-)" Top 5 Page for this destination Hill of Three Crosses Tip by matcrazy1
Hill of Three Crosses, Vilnius: 20 reviews and 32 photos
Look eastwards from the top of the Gediminas Tower. I could see higher hill called the Hill of Three Crosses. There was white, cement monument of the Three Crosses there. Nowadays, the crosses, two of them well seen from the old town below, are a symbol of Lithuanian mourning and hope. Excuse, I didn't visit them, next time...
The legend says that the first wooden crosses were put there in 14th century to commemorate seven Franciscan (Christian) monks murdered by pagans. They were destroyed when Vilnius was occupied by Russia in 19th century (after uprising against power of Moscow tsar in 1863) and rebuilt in 1916 under German occupation.
Hmm, does it prove that Germans were more tolerant to religious feelings of Lithuanians than Russians? Probably yes, although Germans didn't support putting the crosses back. In 1951 Soviet, communist authorities ordered blowing the Three Ceosses and they did it "secretly" at night. They were reconstructed and put up again at the end of Soviet occupation in 1989. I was told that the opening ceremony was a big event and patriotic demonstration for Lithuanians fighting for independence under Soviet occupation.
HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE ?
By the way, very many old, catholic churches and chapels were blown up in the Eastern Europe by orders of Soviet, communist authorities in 40' and 50' of 20th century. Luckily not in my country of Poland where a lot of old, wooden churches survived.
It seems very strange that a lot of amazing culture was destroyed forever during "peaceful" times in the heart of 20th century Europe :-(((, yes, yes, the heart of Europe. The geographical center of Europe lies very close to Vilnius.
Directions: Walk/drive eastwards along southern bank of Neris River, cross the bridge over Vilia River to enter Kalnu Park (Parkas). There was the marked trail from Kalnu Park up to the top of the Hill of Three Crosses.
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