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Siauliai (Lituania)

The religious heart of Lithuania

In the 19th century, the Lithuanian population rebelled against the tsar because it prevented the families of the region from paying tribute to their dead. The people then planted crosses on this hill in memory of their dead.

During the Soviet era, three times the crosses of the hill were completely demolished with bulldozers at the disposal of the communist regime, but each time they reappeared more and more numerous.

In the sixties of the twentieth century, the KGB decreed the end of that practice. The Soviets burned the wooden crosses and destroyed the metal and stone ones. None remained intact. The next day, however, the hill was again full of crosses: at night the Christians had relocated them.

The government blocked access to the hill and went so far as to issue false alarms of epidemics in the region. The Lithuanians did not yield: every time the crosses were destroyed or withdrawn, they returned to place them. When the Soviet Union fell, the Hill of Crosses already had more than 100,000 crucifixes and sacred icons.