Personally, I think that no two experiences should ever be the same and the hill of crosses definitely brings something new to the table, I’m sure you’ll love everything about it! From the taking in the mystifying scenery to wandering around the crosses and reading its inscriptions, stories and prayers, the bittersweet memories in the atmosphere are almost palpable.
Enclosed by towering legends & folklore that acts a veil for the attraction, the hill of crosses is a place that tags several different myths & truths together at the same time. Plausible explanations, a million little lies, and haunting revelations are an ever-swirling hurricane that’ll you have to embrace when you visit this place.
But before we get into all of the heavy stuff, I want to give you some context on the attraction! Just in case you don’t have a perfect idea of what it is. With more than 200,000 crosses strung with rosary beads that rattle softly in the breeze, the hill of crosses became one of the most renowned tourist attractions a traveller could visit after countless people got a glimpse of the flourishing spectacle.
So, if you’re thinking of paying a visit, the hill is located seven miles north of Šiauliai, which is easily reached by train. From Šiauliai, there are regular buses that travel to the Domantai stop — from where the Hill of Crosses is a 1.2-mile walk.
Now, let’s dive into the legends!
First up, we’ve got something that’s dark, a story that says the hill of crosses started out because of conflict and chaos. That’s right, many people still believe that the fallen pagan soldiers were buried in the hill. Many believe the Samogitians who survived the battle piled their slain comrades’ bodies together and buried them, thus forming the mound. Some say that to this day, the soldiers can be seen at times during the night. That is if you dare visit the hill after sundown.
Now, if there’s one thing I love it’s a good old horror story, so you probably get why I included this here. Yeah, I said I wanted to make it plausible, but this seems believable to me. Deal with it.
The next story comes from the locals, it’s a heart-warming story, one that I might have found a tad bit believable. Now, as I said, according to the locals, the hill of crosses started out from act driven by desperation & love. Unable to stand the illness of his daughter that put her to her death bed, the father carved a wooden cross and rushed to the hill to leave it there, once he returned home, his daughter immediately started showing signs of recovery, and much to his surprise, her illness had vanished without a trace. Ever since then people have started leaving crosses on the hill, hoping that their prayers would be answered as well. Many say that the father knew about the hill because he had a dream of a woman dressed in white, who told him what he should do!
*Sigh* if only all my problems were solved by dreams. Anyways, that’s another version of how it all began. Yep, there’s one more left!
Our third story is by far the most convincing! This is the story that says that the hill of crosses began from an act of defiance and resilience. It is believed that the very first cross on this hill appeared during the mid-1800s after the Polish – Lithuanian November Uprising against the Russian Empire, in 1831. After the second missed attempt to gain independence from the Tsar oppression, more and more crosses were put as a reminder of the victims and a symbol of hope. The fabled hill was also struck by countless attempts of demolition, but the crosses kept multiplying with every effort, rising like a phoenix from the ashes! After this, the operations were ceased.
You’ve probably seen the hill of crosses as this grey-cloud enveloped mysterious place that makes waves because of how creepy it is, and yes, the weather does seem to fit that narrative most of the time. It is delightfully enigmatic, but is it scary? I don’t think so! As a person who has followed countless conspiracy theories, and covered the slightly daunting yet perplexing idea of dark tourism, I found the hill of crosses to be much more than a fright-fest for travellers to visit as October wakes up from its year-long slumber.
So, what do you think? What was the origin of the attraction, in your opinion? Personally, I think there’s nothing scary at all, and the third story just so happens to be widely recognised and believed, so I’ll go with that one. Let us know in the comments below if you’d visit this attraction and remember to give us a call or send an email if you need more details on how you can visit the hill of crosses.