Hill of crosses

Regardless of your thoughts on religion, it takes a stoic person not to appreciate some acts of religious devotion: take the mesmeric cathedrals in Barcelona, Cologne and Milan, the epic Hadj pilgrimage, or the riotous, colourful and sensory spectacles of the religious festivals in Thailand and India. The Hill of crosses in northern Lithuania is another incredible site of pilgrimage: inferior to other pilgrimages in size, the hill holds its own in legend, serendipity and mystery.

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After an uprising against a Russian Tsar in 1831, the site became a place of pilgrimage. During the coup, crosses were placed to commemorate the lives of those fallen. Today, an estimated 200,000 crosses plus countless rosaries, pictures and smaller crosses, have been placed. They range in material and size, some crosses upto three metres tall.

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Pilgrims come to the hill to pray for absolution from all sorts of ailments and sins, some less serious than others. The hill has come to represent a symbol of Lithuania’s independence and Catholicism.

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Hill of crosses

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