On the hill of Three Crosses in early times of history the another castle have stand. It was wooden castle and crusaders destroyed it and never been rebuilt.
Another story tells on this hill three orthodox monks were killed in XV century and because of it three crosses was built like commemoration.
From this hill really beautiful panoramic view of Vilnius are available to see. In my opinion, the panoramas are even better than from Gediminas Hill.
The Hill of Three Crosses rises high above Vilnius and is worth visiting for the view it commands.
There are many legends connected with the place. One of them claims that it was here that seven Franciscan missionaries brought to Vilnius by Duke Algirdas were crucified by pagans in his absence. Their bodies together with the crosses were thrown into the river. Then, but different sources give different times for this, three wooden crosses were erected at the top of the hill to commemorate their martyrdom.
Some historians claim that the crosses were erected to make it evident to the Teutonic Knights, who spread their faith by fire and sword, that they would be invading a Christian country.
Another theory maintains that they were there to show the gratitude of the citizens for the dying out of a plague.
Whatever their origin, the original three crosses fell down in 1869 and Tsarist authorities wouldn't allow the building of new ones. Permission to do that was given only in 1916, during another, this time German, occupation. The architect Antoni Wiwulski was now able to use reinforced concrete so that the crosses survived two periods of German occupation. However, in 1951 they had to be blown up by the order of the Communist authorities.
They were re-erected, now made even two metres higher than before, in 1989. The remains of the old crosses were dug up and placed at their foot.
The hill is accessible from Kosciuskos St.
Climbing up Gediminas hill you can have a look at the Hill of Three Crosses; it is a memorial place to remember the torture seven Franciscan monks were by the pagans.
When the Grand Duke Algirdas was absent, some pagans tied the monks up the hill and threw them down to the river Vilnele saying: ‘Swim with the idol you order us to worship’. Since that day the hill was named "of the Three Crosses" as three crosses were erected there to commemorate the sad event.
Yup, that's basically it. The Hill of Three Crosses is a popular sight in Vilnius but it's not too special. Three white crosses are built up there and now count as one of the symbols of Vilnius.
Historically interesting may be the fact that the original wooden crosses already existed in the 17th century but were changed to concrete in 1916. The Soviets destroyed them in the 1950s, but when Lithuania became independent again, the crosses were built anew.
The best thing you can probably say about the Hill of Three Crosses is the beautiful view from up there - but it demands some climbing!
The legend says that long ago seven Franciscan monks were crucified here. Crosses originally were erected in the 17th century but Stalin had them removed and buried and in 1989 were they rebuilt according to the original plans. The crosses are a great symbol of both Lithuanian mourning and hope.
Three Crosses Hill is a memorable place because seven Franciscan monks were tortured here by the pagans. When the Grand Duke Algirdas was absent, pagans tied them to the crosses and threw them down the hill to the river with the words: ‘Swim with the idol you order us to worship’. Since then the mount was given the name of the Three Crosses as three crosses were erected there to commemorate that event and they still are some kind of a symbol of Vilnius.
The Hill of Three Crosses, not to be confused with the Hill of Crosses outside Šiauliai, is a very noticeable sight on the outskirts of Vilnius. While it appears to be quite a distance away, it's actually only about a 20-30 minute walk and hill climb from the Cathedral. The crosses were first erected in the 17th Century to commemorate a trio of monks who were crucified on the spot. These original crosses were bulldozed by the Soviets in the 1950s. The crosses were re-built in 1989, but the ruins of the destroyed crosses were left where they fell as a reminder of Soviet occupation.
I walked down from the Gedimino Hill and continued the search of the Three Crosses. I saw a tempting path by the river and followed it. After a while there were narrow steps up the hill and I wondered if they lead to the Three Crosses. I decided to give them a try and up I went. This was much tougher than climbing up the castle hill! Much steeper. It was a hot sunny day and sweat was running down my back. Then I saw the crosses but before taking the last part I sat on a bench for a while. Finally I was on the top and wondered for what. The view was marvellous, but the crosses? Oh well, not really interesting for me. According to the legends the Three Crosses were built to remember seven martyred Franciscan missionaries. Pagan Lithuanians tied them to crosses and threw them off the hill into the river. At this time Vilnius was ruled by Grand Duke Algirgas who got very angry punished the guilty. The Franciscans were buried on the hill and the chapel was built for them. Historians, however, confirm that this is all fiction.
As you are already at the Gediminas castle its not so far to go to the three crosses mountain.View there is even better( as it is a wee bit higher,too).More sport activities and more nice pics from the hill ;-)
p.s.For a good pics opportunity go early in the morning when all other tourists are still sleeping.Coz with the whole bus or twoof tourists on this small mountain of three crosses you will have to fight to get to see something, not talking about having some nice shots for your camera.
As you are going up the hill towards the Higher Castle Museum, you will see the Hill of 3 Crosses to your right. The three crosses on top of the hill symbolizes Lithuanians mourning and hope.
They were erected because Franiscan Monks were torture here, and the crosses were build in their honor.
I believe that you can climb to the top of the hill to the crosses, but we did not go up.
Please do visit "The Hill of Three Crosses". You have a wonderful panorama view of the Old Town of Vilnius. One of my favorite places to visit in Vilnius.
I visited during Autumn and Summer. Both visits gave me a joy of looking down the beautiful city and the Threee Crosses are beautiful against the sun or moving clouds.
This hill with 3 crosses u can easily abserve from Gediminas hill.So if u r lazy and don't want to climb too much , it's enough to get on the top of one hill and enjoy with the vew of the most part of the city.
To go to the hill you need to walk within a path in a forest. The crosses are a basic tourist thing, not so confusing.
In the hill you can see many red roofs of the old fashioned houses in Vilnius. I was there in the summer but I think the sight would be better when the trees have not yet growed the leafs, which weaken the visibility to town.
Look eastwards from the top of the Gediminas Tower. I could see higher hill called the Hill of Three Crosses. There was white, cement monument of the Three Crosses there. Nowadays, the crosses, two of them well seen from the old town below, are a symbol of Lithuanian mourning and hope. Excuse, I didn't visit them, next time...
The legend says that the first wooden crosses were put there in 14th century to commemorate seven Franciscan (Christian) monks murdered by pagans. They were destroyed when Vilnius was occupied by Russia in 19th century (after uprising against power of Moscow tsar in 1863) and rebuilt in 1916 under German occupation.
Hmm, does it prove that Germans were more tolerant to religious feelings of Lithuanians than Russians? Probably yes, although Germans didn't support putting the crosses back. In 1951 Soviet, communist authorities ordered blowing the Three Ceosses and they did it "secretly" at night. They were reconstructed and put up again at the end of Soviet occupation in 1989. I was told that the opening ceremony was a big event and patriotic demonstration for Lithuanians fighting for independence under Soviet occupation.
HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE ?
By the way, very many old, catholic churches and chapels were blown up in the Eastern Europe by orders of Soviet, communist authorities in 40' and 50' of 20th century. Luckily not in my country of Poland where a lot of old, wooden churches survived.
It seems very strange that a lot of amazing culture was destroyed forever during "peaceful" times in the heart of 20th century Europe :-(((, yes, yes, the heart of Europe. The geographical center of Europe lies very close to Vilnius.
The Three Crosses have never been popular with Russian occupiers. When the original wooden crosses fell down in the 19th century, the tsarist authorities, then under Tsar Alexis I, refused to allow it to be rebuilt. The second monument was built in secret, shortly before Lithuania's brief early flirtation with democratic independence. But after re-occupation by the Soviets after WW2, it wasn't long before the Stalinist government had that one blown up. It wasn't until independence in 1989 that the latest monument was built.
Nobody knows why it was originally built, although there is a legend of seven monks who were invited to Vilnius before being tortured and killed. They were buried on the spot, and the three crosses mark the chapel that was built over their graves. Another suggestion is that they were built as to commemorate the city being granted Magdeburg rights, a set of laws that granted freedoms and trade rights to the local population.
The hill also offers great views of the old town.
Note: The monument is typically called the Three Crosses, not the Hill of Crosses, to avoid confusion with the other famous Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania.