The Hill of Crosses near Siauliai was formed on Jurgaiciai mound, which was considered a holy place. It is believed that the first crosses were left on the Hill by the relatives of rebels killed in the uprising of 1831, but the Hill of Crosses is mentioned in written sources only since 1850. The erection of crosses on the hill in great numbers began in 1863, when the Tsarist authorities banned the installation of crosses not only by the roadsides, but also in cemeteries. The history also tells us that many crosses appeared in the end of the nineteenth century after the apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. It was she, they say, who encouraged people to build crosses in this place.
In Soviet times, the erection of crosses was not tolerated, and the hill became a non-desirable, even forbidden place, opposing the Soviet ideology. On the night of 5 April 1961 all crosses were bulldozed and crushed, and then pushed downhill. Wooden crosses were burned right on the spot, metal ones were taken to the metal scrap and melted, and concrete and stone ones were crushed with crushers and used for road construction. After the first devastation, later the Hill of Crosses was periodically devastated for four more times. However, the more fervently the hill was being destroyed, the more powerfully it would be rebuilt. People were stubbornly bringing crosses at night, despite the dangers, prohibitions and persecutions of authorities. The Hill of Crosses became a symbol of an unshakable faith in the people, their sufferings and hopes. #hillofcrosses #lithuania