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Lithuania's Hill of Crosses (Happy Easter!)
I've done a fair bit of traveling through the Baltics but had never heard anything about this fantastic cross-covered hill in Lithuania. It wasn't until I was surfing through EnglishRussia.com last night that I learned about this place. Alas, one of the great tragedies of travel is learning about something you missed while abroad. Damn!
The Hill of Crosses (Kry?iu Kalnas) is located in North Lithuania near the town of Šiauliai--the fourth largest city in the country. No one knows why the custom started, but for whatever reason, the crosses began appearing in the 14th century. Over the years, devout pilgrims journeyed here to place their own cross on the hill--supposedly an act that would bring good luck.
The hill fell on bad times during the Soviet occupation and was actually bulldozed a number of times, and yet the crosses would spring back under the cover of darkness until eventually the godless commies gave up.
Today there are at least 50,000 crosses crammed onto this little hill and more are placed there every day. Wow. I will be sure to detour here on my next visit to Lithuania. In the meantime, join me in living vicariously through the photos on EnglishRussia.com.