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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hill of Crosses - Kryžių Kalnas: Šiauliai, Lithuania

Hill of Crosses - Kryžių Kalnas

Amazing. A site of pilgrimage near the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania.
The first crosses were placed on the hill in 14th century.
Some History
Lithuanians adopted Christianity in 1387, as one of the last pagan nations in Europe.
By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia.
Although the Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses, and bulldozed the site at least three times, the new crosses continued to appear and by 1985 the Soviet authorities had given up. 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). There are more today.

Lithuanians are a Baltic ethnic group. The ancestors  first arrived at the Baltic shore some 4,500 to 5,000 years ago [2,500BC to 3,000 BC] and assimilated with local inhabitants who arrived as the ice caps melted about 10,000 BC. This homogeneous group was left alone and was able to retain its unique character for thousands of years. The language is considered the "Oldest Living Language." The definition of a "Living Language" should be reviewed.

As a unique ethnic group that survived thousands of years, the Lithuanian Character is one of pride and determination. History shows the people's tenacity for survival and retention of their culture despite all odds and oppressors.

To correct a misnomer, one does not become a Lithuanian by wishing it. One is born a Lithuanian of Lithuanian parents.  Its about ethnicity.

This video demonstrates how a people do not give up!

The Lithuanians

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