Hill of Crosses, Kryžių kalnas in Lithuanian, is a major site of pilgrimage located about 12km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. The exact origins of the tradition of leaving crosses on the hill are unknown but according to a belief, the first crosses were placed after the 1831 Uprising, on Domantai Hillfort. In the following years, there were other trinkets, other than crosses and crucifixes, placed on the hill including the statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, tiny effigies, and rosaries by the Catholic pilgrims.
1831 Uprising occurred when the Lithuanians and Poles rebelled against the Russian authorities, but it was unsuccessful. In 1863, another rebellion, known as the January Uprising, broke out. These two events are connected with the beginning of the tradition of leaving crosses on the Hill. As families could not locate the bodies of the rebels, they started putting up symbolic relics and crosses at the site of a former hillfort.
Throughout the Lithuanian Wars of Independence, Lithuanians used the Hill of Crosses as a place to pray for peace, for their country, and for the loved ones they had lost. Under the Soviet authority, the Hill was burned down but the locals rebuilt it. In 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses and declared it a place for hope, peace, love, and sacrifice. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage point.