Hill of Crosses
An authentic monument to freedom and faith. Just north of the city of Šiauliai in Northern Lithuania lies a small hill, not unlike many others, common to the flat plains of Lithuanian countryside. Don’t be mistaken by the typical appearance – pull over and walk up, to be stunned by the most mysterious sound and view as you approach the hill. Little as it is, the whole mound is covered in hundreds of thousands of crosses, large and tiny, wooden or metal, of all shapes and sizes – a magical, astounding and truly moving sight.
One of the country’s most awe-inspiring visitor attractions, the mysterious Hill of Crosses is arguably the most special pilgrim site in Lithuania, and an authentic monument to the suffering, endurance and love of Lithuanians for their freedom, both political and spiritual. A site of pilgrimage for hundreds of years, this small hill bears testimony to the perseverance and unity of the Lithuanian people and their firm beliefs and principles grounded in freedom and faith. Since 1831, locals have been planting here crosses tall and small, as an expression of hope and faith and a silent protest against the foreign rule. Destroyed by the Soviet authorities during the day, the crosses would be planted back up again by night, tiring out the KGB’s efforts to demolish the hill and flood the fields around it to cut access. Having survived the Soviet occupation, the hill became a symbol of Lithuanian faith and its national identity in the dawn of the country’s independence in 1990. Today, as many as 200,000 crosses (and counting) tinkle in the wind, inviting pilgrims to pause and pray for their intentions – and possibly leave behind a cross of their own.
Combine a visit to the Hill of Crosses with neighbouring shrines along St. John Paul II Pilgrimage Route, taking in Žemaičių Kalvarija, Tytuvėnai and one of the oldest European Marian apparition sites at Šiluva. Vilnius, Trakai and Kaunas can be added for a more in depth pilgrimage itinerary.
For additional information, please call one of our Pilgrimage Specialists:
- Currency: Euro (€, EUR)
- Local time: GMT +2 hours
- Airports: Vilnius (VNO) / Kaunas (KUN)
- Flight duration: 2 hours 50 minutes approximately
- Transfer time: 15 minutes from Vilnius (VNO) airport / 30 minutes from Kaunas (KUN) airport
- Languages: Lithuanian; many people speak English
- Climate: Typical European continental influenced climate with warm, dry summers and fairly severe winters; Best time to travel is mid -April to mid-October, when the days are warm and the nights are cool
- Voltage: 230V A/C, sockets outlets and sockets Type C 2 pin and Type F 2 pin are used
- Visa: not required for EU citizens; non-EU citizens are advised to check with the relevant authorities
- Passport: EU passport holders travelling to Lithuania must have an up-to-date passport valid for travel three months beyond the date of return; non-EU citizens are advised to check with the relevant authorities