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The Hill of Crosses

Photographs by Vova Pomortzeff

The most important Lithuanian pilgrimage site is located some 12 km from the town of Šiauliai. There is no reliable information when and why the very first cross appeared here. According to one version, it happened shortly after the baptism of Lithuania in the 14th century. The hill could be a pagan shrine previously, so crosses were installed on it to symbolize the victory of the Christianity. According to another version, the tradition has its origins only in the middle of the 19th century, when the Lithuanians began to set crosses in memory of the fallen at the 1831 Uprising suppressed by the tsarist troops. At least, the first written mention about the Hill of Crosses is dated 1850. During the Soviet occupation of Lithuania the Communist authorities made at least four attempts to destroy the site. However, each time after the crosses were demolished by bulldozers, they reappeared again and again. Nobody has ever tried to count how many large and small crosses are actually installed on Jurgaičiai Hill. It's believed there are at least two hundred thousands crosses here. And every day dozens or even hundreds of new crosses are added by pilgrims from all over the world.

1. The Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai, Northern Lithuania.

 

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11. Pilgrims from Poland are going to install a new cross on the Hill of Crosses.

 

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15. Volunteers help to clear the old decayed crosses out from the Hill of Crosses.

 

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17. Volunteers help to clear the old decayed crosses out from the Hill of Crosses.

 

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22. Crosses in memory of the Forest Brothers, the Lithuanian partisans who fought against the Soviet regime in Lithuania until the beginning of the 1950s.

 

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24. A shop with new crosses at the parking lot next to the Hill of Crosses.

 

25. A shop with new crosses at the parking lot next to the Hill of Crosses.

 

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The photographs of this feature were shot in August 2013 in Šiauliai, Northern Lithuania.

Copyright © 2013 Vova Pomortzeff

   
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