Hill of Crosses – Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses is located 12 km north of the small county town Šiauliai. The town was established in 1236 and was occupied by teutonic knights in the fourth century.

The Hill of Crosses is one of the most renowned pilgrimage places in all the country and it’s a symbol of desire for freedom, national pride and piety.

Spread on a hilltop, hundreds of thousands of Christian crosses are raised to the sky, as testament to the faith and Lithuanian national identity. Nobody knows the exact number of crosses located on this hill, but in 1990, it was estimated around 55,000, while in 2006 the total amount already exceeded 100,000.

No one knows for certain when the tradition of leaving crosses began, although it is believed that the first crosses were placed on the former fort Jurgaiciai – Domantai after the uprising in 1831. Over the centuries, not only modest crosses, but huge crucifixes, statues of Lithuanian heroes, statues of the Virgin and the Saviour, and thousands of rosaries and effigies were brought here by Catholic pilgrims.


In 1795 Lithuania was a part of the Russian empire. Polish and Lithuanian rebels revolted without much chance of success against Russian rulers in 1831 and 1863. These two uprisings are tied with the beginnings of the Hill of Crosses.






As the families of many of the rebels have not found their bodies after battles, they erected crosses on a site of a former military fort, located on a hill in the area.

When the old political leadership of Eastern Europe fell apart in 1918, Lithuania declared its independence for the second time. The Hill of Crosses was already famous as a place of prayer for the peace of the country and for the remembrance of heroes in the struggle for independence.

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