During the near 10 years I have been visiting Lithunia, and Vilnius in particular, I must have photographed the Hill of Three Crosses many times. In winter when it is surrounded by snow it is a beautiful sight to behold however, it is (in my opinion) at its most stunning in early autumn just as the leaves in the trees begin to change colour.
It is believed that the three crosses were first erected here in the 17th century to commemorate a group of monks from a nearby monastery, who were martyred in the 14th century. According to legend, seven were killed and seven were tied to wooden crosses and floated down the Neris River, with the instruction to return to the west from whence they had come.
The monument has changed many times. The current one was built by the architect and sculptor, A. Vivulskis in 1989 at the beginning of the Rebirth movement. It was built to replace the one that had been removed by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, pieces of which still remain on the slope on the far side. The Hill of Three Crosses is also known as Kreivasis (crooked) Hill, or Plikasis (bare) Hill or Tauro Hill (the gleaming white monument marks the site of the former Crooked Castle, which is believed to have stood there (in Latin, referred to as the curvum castrum).
The view across the city from the monument is spectacular and well worth the effort of getting up there. You can ascend from the back of the monument by steep pathways (wonderful exercise) which my friend Mike insisted was a “short cut” for which I have never forgiven him. Alternatively. if you are feeling too laid back for that there is a good road to walk up which is not as physically demanding as the path.
A visit to Vilnius would not be complete without a trip to the Hill of Three Crosses.