Hill of Crosses
When talking about mysterious places in the work the Hill of Crosses is surely one of them. This is a place that is located outside the northern city of Šiauliai.
The main attraction of this place is those thousands of metal and wooden crosses that are here for nearly two centuries now.
As a result, this place has found a home on the growing pile of religious fervour.
Since a very long time, this place has converted to signify the tranquil endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism. In spite of the threats, it has seen throughout history.
Following the 3rd partition that took place in 1795 Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Lithuania turns out to be a part of the Russian Empire.
In 1831 and 1863 both Poles and Lithuanians rebelled unsuccessfully against the Russian authorities.
These two rebellions are well connected with the beginnings of this hill of crosses. This because even the families could not find the bodies of these perished revolts.
So, they started to place up symbolic crosses at a former hill fort. While in 1918, the old political structure of Eastern Europe started to fall apart.
So, Lithuania had again announced its independence. During this time, the Hill of Crosses was used as a place to pray for peace for Lithuanian and also for their country.
This place was also used by people to pray for the loved ones they had lost during the Wars of Independence.
During the years 1944–1990 this place took on a special significance. This was when Lithuania was taken by the Soviet Union.
This place was a venue that depicted peaceful resistance. However, the Soviets tried very hard to remove new crosses.
They even bulldozed the site for at least three times. Rumours have it that they even planned to build a dam on the nearby river for paying their tribute to Mūša.
This was planned to make sure that the hill would end up underwater. Once as on September 7(1993), Pope John Paul II paid a visit to this Hill of Crosses.
Then later declared it as a place for love, hope, peace and sacrifice. After some years around 2000, a Franciscan hermitage was unlocked nearby.
The decoration of its interiors has links with La Verna. It is a mountain that was remembered as a place where St.Francis had received his stigmata.
In the end, the hill was still considered to be under nobody’s jurisdiction. Thus, people can freely build crosses as they see fit.
Fun Facts about Hill of Crosses
As the name suggests the Hill of Crosses, people have not only placed crosses or crucifixes on the hill but thousands of tiny rosaries and effigies also.
Some people have even placed statues of various Lithuanian patriots and the Virgin Mary.
This hill was a display of the Catholicism belief that Lithuanian had. This place also is proof of the power of peaceful endurance of determination and belief of the people.
This hill has no government or entity with jurisdiction. Hence, it is open for everyone who wishes to visit and leave a cross as per their choice.
This place has two special crosses at the hill. One cross has a sitting Jesus in it.
It was made as a symbol for those people who were Catholics and believed in Jesus but were not permitted to openly worship by the Russian government.
The other cross is visible in the scene front and centre on the hill. During 1993, when Pope John Paul II visited this hill.
He got very impressed with the hill and donated a large metal cross that was beautiful and large for this hill.
Carving religious icons is a tradition that is followed by people through generations. Even UNESCO has recognized the cross-making as an intangible heritage of Lithuania.
Also called as “symbol of national religious identity”. This surely helped in uniting the community towards adversity.
At the time of Soviet era, the Hill of Crosses off limits as the religion remained banned.
Even when the Hill of Crosses was destructed further four times, every time locals had rebuilt the site during the cover of darkness even with a high risk of political danger.
Haunted Secrets of this Hill
One of the local artist and historian named Vilnius Puronas told that “The hill has many secrets”.
As claimed by the folklore, this place once had a church where this mysterious hill now stands.
In a terrible storm, lightning was too powerful that it struck the church. This windy storm buried it under the heap of sand and rock with everyone still inside.
Some locals even share some horrifying details about the glimpse of a ghost procession of monks at the foot of the hill during the sunrise.
For almost ages, spooky and magical appearances, visions of various sightings of ghosts have become a part of the hill’s history.
But there is one story that is still the most renowned of the hill’s creation and that is a tale of the father.
It is said that a father whose daughter had fallen gravely ill saw a vision. This vision came to him when that girl on her deathbed.
As per the vision, women told him to assemble a wooden cross and place it nearby hill. By doing so his daughter would recover soon.
In the morning, the man desperately hurried and carved a wooden cross and placed it near the hill as told.
As soon as he returned home, his daughter met him at the doorway perfectly healthy once again.
After this miracle, people started to leave crosses hoping that their prayers will be answered.
But, just like good things exist so do bad. Not every cross that was left at this place has optimistic pilgrim.
Few of them were even reminders of quite a rebellion. People who love to know about the mysterious history and places will find this place fascinating.
I hope this article helped you to know some facts about the Hill of crosses.
Do let me know if you have any doubt regarding the same through the comment section below. Keep exploring!
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