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Lithuania: Hill of Crosses

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Hill of Crosses | Lithuania | Europe

[Visited: March 2002]

Although Lithuania was the last European country to adopt Christianity as its religion, it perhaps has the highest density of crosses on the continent. This is certainly the case on the Hill of Crosses, where an impressive amount of crosses has formed an incredible sight over the years. There is still discussion about its origin, but what's sure is that the hillock has served not only a religious, but also very much a nationalistic function.

Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Hill of crosses

The Soviet secret police, KGB, even got to bulldozing the place to the ground, closing roads leading up to it, and digging trenches around it. Still, crosses always returned. They are erected in memory of beloved ones, of people disappeared during the war, during the Soviet occupation, or just out of religious motives. It is only when you come closer that the magnitude of the place dawns on you.

Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Jesus on cross at Hill of Crosses

I arrived very early, and was the only visitor for a while. It was a wintery March day, clear blue skies, and the only sound to be heard was the chirping of birds in the air. After a while, a little wind made the smallest of crosses move and rattle against each other. At one moment I discovered, an old, lonely man who had been with me on the bus, kneeling before a white Mary, knees on the white ground, where he remained for a long time. It was almost as if he had become a statue himself.

Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Crosses in all sizes at Hill of Crosses
Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Beggars at the Hill of Crosses
Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Praying at the Hill of Crosses
Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Crosses high and low at the Hill of Crosses
Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Heap of small crosses at the Hill of Crosses
Picture of Hill of Crosses (Lithuania): Statue of Jesus with crosses at Hill of Crosses

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