11.30 AM – 12.30 PM: Hill Of Crosses
Is a historical and architectural monument, a unique ensemble of folk art. Its peace, spirituality, authenticity, and sacred nature attracts visitors. The oblong mound, somewhat similar to a saddle, stands on a plain and is surrounded by the valleys of Kulpė stream and its nameless tributary. The hill itself sits on the Jurgaičiai-Domantai mound with a former ancient village dating back to the 13th-14th centuries. It became a sacred site in the 19th century. It is said that the first crosses were erected here by the next-of-kin of the rebels that fell in the 1831 rebellion. The family members erected the crosses at this site because the Tsarist reign did not allow them to pay proper tribute to the graves of their relatives. Even more crosses were put up after the rebellion of 1863. At that time, the tradition of visiting and erecting crosses on the hill began to emerge. The Hill of Crosses became a place of vow making. According to another version, many crosses were put up after the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus apeared on the mound in the 7th decade of the 19th century; it was she who supposedly encouraged people to put crosses at this place. In 1850, there were 17 crosses on the hill, from 1895 to 1898 the number increased to 180, and in 1938 there were over 400 crosses. The number of crosses also grew during the period of Soviet occupation; in 1960, there were 2,500 large crosses alone.