We The People

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas, in the city of Siauliai, Lithuania stands on a small hill, about 10 meters tall. The tradition of leaving crosses began after an uprising of the Polish and Lithuanians against the Russian tsar was squelched in 1831. Relatives of the dead rebels, with no bodies to bury, instead left crosses on this hill to commemorate their fallen. Today there are about 200,000 crosses at the site, excluding carvings and shrines, made out of everything from wood to metal. During the Soviet occupation of Lithuania from 1944 to 1991, the Hill of Crosses became a symbol of defiance against the Communist regime. Three times the Soviets bulldozed the hill, but after each time both locals and pilgrims once again would erect crosses on the hill.

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