Hill of the Crosses and Šiluva

The Hill of Crosses, where people not only from Lithuania have put crosses for couple centuries, witnesses faithfulness and trust of a Christian community to Christ and his Cross. This is an expression of a spontaneous religiousness of the people, and is a symbol not of grief and death but of Faith, Love and Sacrifice. From here the Pope blessed all people of Lithuania and all of Christian Europe.

The crosses on the Hill were first mentioned in written chronicles in 1850, but it is believed that the first crosses were put by the relatives of the victims of the rebellion in 1831 as the tsarist government did not allow the families to honour their passed away members of the family properly. Crosses of the kind became more numerous after the other rebellion in 1863

After the political change the crosses were counted by enthusiasts from Šiauliai. They found 14 387 big crosses (1 112 from them were 3-4 meters high, 130 even higher) and about 41 000 small crosses (smaller than 0.5 meters).

Each visitor tries to leave a cross or a rosary. If he has not brought any, he makes one right on the hill, from pebbles, little branches or grass.

Šiluva - A little town of Šiluva has been famous since 16th century for the devotions on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday on September 8. But the particularity of the place is the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the beginning of the 17th century. As far as it is known, it was the earliest appearance of Our Lady in Europe and both the first and the only time in the history of Christianity that she appeared and talked to a non-Catholic – Calvinist. The place of the appearance is the most important object of piety in Šiluva.