Posted: May 12 2019
Hill of Crosses | Kryžių Kalnas is situated, 10km North West of Šiauliai and 45 kilometers from the Latvian / Lithuanian border.
This post originally appeared on my other now defunct travel blog and is based on my travels in Lithuania in August 2018.
There is no exact historical date, when and how the first cross was erected on the legendary and storied mound of Jurgiciai (Domantai) nowadays, The Hill of Crosses. A variety of sources from the second part of the 19th century show that the hill was by then considered sacred. About 1850, Mauricijus Griskevicius, a treasurer of Šiauliai economy, wrote about a severely sick inhabitant of Jurgiciai village, who made a promise to erect a cross if he got well.
After rebellions in 1831 and 1863, more and more crosses emerged on the hill. According to testimonies, before World war One, there were over 200 crosses, in 1923 the number reached about 400 and in 1960 there were over 2000.
source: information plaque at the site
Here's the location on GoogleMaps:
How to get to the Hill of Crosses
I was staying in Vilnius at the time so I first had to get to Šiauliai. Šiauliai is on the rail network. Lietuvos Geležinkeliai the state-run railway company, has services from Vilnius to Šiauliai and Klaipeda. I took the 06:50 from Vilnius, arriving in Šiauliai at 09:07. From the train station to the bus station it's a 10 min walk where you can find Rimi Supermarket and a Hesburger - good for free wifi!
The first bus available, having arrived from Vilnius, is the 10:25 to Domentai. It leaves from platform 12. Buy the ticket on the bus. Fare: 0.74€. Duration: +/-40mins.
Here's the complete schedule:
From the bus stop on the highway, it's a 20 minute walk to the Hill of Crosses site.
Here is a screen shot of the train schedule back to Vilnius from Šiauliai. But double check the times as there are different departure times depending on the day of travel!
I was travelling on to Klaipeda and would it would have meant a long wait until the evening for a train BUT there are thankfully many buses that aren't listed online. The list as of August 2018 is: 10:30, 12:30, 13:25, 15:35 and 17:00.
The 13:25 cost 12.10€ and took a painfully long 3 hours 30 minutes. Buy the ticket on the bus, platform 8.
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Travelling the world solo, since 1992, as a low budget backpacker.