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Kalnai Park

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Opening Hours: I-VII: 00.00-24.00
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One can see the Hill of Three Crosses (also called the Grey), the Hill of Gediminas’s Grave, Table Hill, and the Bekes Hill in the Park, located next to the Vilnius Old Town.

Kalnai Park adjoins T. Kosciuskos Street on one side, which is the easiest side to reach the top of the hill, on the other side the Park borders on rivel Vilnele and Uzupis (Kriviu Street).

The Hill of Three Crosses

Three massive ferro – concrete crosses were placed on the Grey Hill according to the project of A. Vivulskis. The architect’s largest work in Vilnius is the Church of St. Mary’s Heart. The Church is the first ferro-concrete building in Lithuania.

All of these crosses are casted using the same form and placed in a shape of a half-moon. They are very distinct in the scenery of Vilnius because of their monumental shape and white color.

It is said that the monument stands in the place where the pagans tortured seven Franciscan monks, attached their bodies to the crosses, and threw them into the river. The monument was demolished by the soviet authorities on May 30th, 1950, and was rebuilt when the Lithuanian national rebirth started.

The modern monument is a symbol of the religious identity and political resistance. Because of the Vilnius Old Town view which opens up from the top of the hill, the place is one of the favorites between the tourists.

The Hill of Gediminas’s Grave

This is the burial place of one of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania Gediminas (1275 – 1341), who was the representative of the famous Gediminaiciai dynasty. He inherited the throne of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after Vytenis’s death; before this Gediminas ruled the Trakai Duchy. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania increased in almost a third of its size during the rule of Gediminas, although no larger Lithuanian war victories are known, except for the Medininkai battle in 1320.

The place is attractive not only because of the views and the scenery unveiled from it. The enthusiasts interested in the culture of the Balts organize their ritual festivals next to the pagan altar.

The Table Hill

The title of the Hill originates from its form, as the top of it is flat. The place is much liked by the children and tourists.

The historians claim that the Table Hill might have been included in the territory of the Crooked Hill. The observational exploration of the Hill was carried out in 1975 and in 1995. It was found that the surface of the Hill contains a cultural layer, which was up to 2 meters thick and contained fine ceramics from the 14th century.

Bekes Hill

A military commander C. Bekes died in Grodno, however his body was brought back to Lithuania. Every single priest refused to bury C. Bekes in the cemetery due to his Arian faith and because of his pre – lethal statement: “I don’t care about the heaven, and I am not afraid of hell”. As a way out in the situation the relatives of the commander chose a beautiful hill on the riverbank of Vilnele and buried the rebellious military leader there.

There was a monument build for C. Bekes – an octagonal tower, 20 meters high and 6 meters wide. After a couple of Vilnele’s floods (in 1838 and 1843) washed away a part of the hill, the tower crashed down into the river and was never rebuilt.

There is an open air stage in the center of the Kalnai Park, which is used for various cultural events. The traditional Song festival was held here in 2009. The night of the ensembles “Year” amazed the spectators’ crowd of many thousands with the participants dressed up in national costumes. The unique event attracted with the stories about the periodic change of the seasons, performed by various companies: dances and songs dedicated to the Christmas expectation; the show was ended with energetic and archaic performances about the harvest time. The festival was held in the very center of the Kalnai Park, surrounded by the greenery, which reminds of the ancient times, paganism, and got worshipping. An interesting program attracted not only Vilnius’s inhabitants, but the City guests from all over around the World as well.

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Kalnai Park Three Crosses

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