To top
Mysterious, striking, ornate and unique. These are just some of the words that can be used to describe Lithuanian wooden crosses. A symbol of that peculiarly Lithuanian blend of ancient tradition and Christian obeyance, these often monumental objects can be found marking the boundaries of villages and towns across the country, even to this day.

Starting in the 15th century, Lithuanians began building and carving monumental crosses as a means of securing better harvests, health, and even happiness. And over the centuries, this tradition bred its own master craftsmen, who would take commissions from local farmers and farming communities. These crosses were made to commemorate the dead, and pay homage to their spirits, in hopes of securing spiritual peace. They were also significant in size, measuring from 1.2 to 5 m in height. Although the designs of the crosses do vary widely, uniting them is the dynamic interplay between ornate patterning that mimics the weave and design of traditional costume and more conventional Christian imagery.

It’s always best to see these monuments in the ground and in their original location, as each of the country’s regions has its own take on the form. Dzūkija is notable for crosses featuring an upside-down triangle, incorporating motifs of Christ's suffering. Aukštaitija, meanwhile, is known for intricately carved crosses and stogastulpis (decorative chapel poles), adorned with floral and geometric patterns. While in Sudovia, you’ll find crosses characterised by floral motifs and elevated pedestals, and in Samogitia large, straightforward crosses, with a more minimalist aesthetic are common. So, why not set out to explore this amazing treasury? It’s a great way to see the country and experience its unique heritage.

Everything's nearby