Friday, October 19, 2018

NORTHERN COUNTRY TOUR - HILL OF CROSSES - LITHUANIA

Here is a map of the whole tour and how it started.


Leaving Riga, on our way to Vilnius in Lithuania, we stopped at a place I had never heard of, "The Hill of Crosses". I had no idea who had created it and why and was not very excited to see crosses on a hill, you see already enough in catholic churches. But what I saw then, exceeded all my expectations !

At first it started as usual when you visit a tourist place .... with souvenir shops ! Never in my life I had seen so many crosses in all shapes and sizes, as magnets, postcards, jewelry, standing up or hanging there was something for everybody !



Business is business also in religions



The entrance looked quite inviting, with even picnic tables



With this inscription on the wall in three languages, German, English and French



It was a long way through a very flat landscape until at the horizon I saw the shape of crosses



and this cross stood alone in the middle of a square surrounded by hundreds of crosses.

Who had put all these crosses on this rather mysterious hill where pilgrims actually believe Christ can perform miracles ?

The tradition of leaving crosses began after an uprising against the Russian tsar was put down in 1831
Relatives of the dead rebels, with no bodies to bury, instead left crosses on this hill to commemorate their fallen soldiers.

Crosses appearing on the hill became a symbol of resistance to the communist regime and in response the KGB twice bulldozed the hill. In 1991, when Lithuania acquired its long awaited independence, the hill became a dual symbol of Lithuania's Catholic faith and her national identity

Today there are some 200,000 crosses, carvings and shrines at the site made out of everything from wood to metal. Personal belongings like bracelets, rings, necklaces, cards, pets, dolls, chaplets were hanging on the crosses.

Despite the blue sky and the surrounding fields I found this place a little oppressive



You could see the difference of the old and new crosses, the old once were grey the others had kept their wooden look.












I walked in the middle and tried to read what was written sometimes on the crosses, mostly names of a person or even a whole family. But also wishes for healing, or for a new boyfriend or girl !



This cross was put here by the Italian Air Force







There is not much more to add



I have to admit that I was rather relieved to see peaceful green fields, I only missed a few sheep for my inner peace.



Linking to Five Minutes Friday"WHO"

4 comments:

nomad said...

Visiting as your FMF neighbor. Interesting, informative and visually impressive.

Fun60 said...

Great photos. We didn't go to the Hill of Crosses so I was delighted to read your post. Not an uplifting place but it obviously means a lot to the Lithuanians.

William Kendall said...

I think the first time I ever heard of the Hill of Crosses was in a documentary on the region. It's a fascinating, strange place.

Loree said...

This is the first time I'm hearing of this place. It is true, all those crosses must make it feel oppressive. Interesting though.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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