Commemorative coin to promote a unique place in Lithuania – the Hill of Crosses
Today, on 4 November, the Bank of Lithuania issues into circulation the €2 commemorative coin dedicated to the Hill of Crosses – a unique and world-famous Lithuanian sight. The mintage of the coin is 500,000 pcs and it is legal tender throughout the euro area.
“The Hill of Crosses is an extraordinary and sacred place in Lithuania which is also well-known by a number of pilgrims across the globe. In addition to this, the Hill is also a witness to our history and the symbol of inviolable freedom. It survived the Soviet occupation thanks to the unbreakable spirit of our nation, and when the independence was reinstated, the Hill of Crosses was revived and started to flourish,” said Asta Kuniyoshi, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania. According to her, the new coin not only commemorates the Hill of Crosses but also reminds everyone about the Lithuanian cross-crafting tradition which, as a unique phenomenon, was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
It is believed that the first crosses on the Hill, situated near Šiauliai on the Castle Hill of Jurgaičiai (Domantai), were placed in the 14–15th centuries. A significant number of crosses were erected there during the uprisings of 1831 and 1863, whereas during the Soviet times, they were put in memory of the fallen partisans. However, after 1959, the crosses began to be systematically destroyed. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the Hill of Crosses started to grow and has continued to do so ever since. According to Dr Alė Počiulpaitė, the author of the coin brochure, the word about the Hill of Crosses spread especially wide when Pope John Paul II visited it in 1993. An impressive cross gifted by him has in a way become a symbol of the Hill.
The national side of the coin depicts the Hill of Crosses: fragments of wooden and forged crosses, symbolising Lithuanian cross-crafting and folk culture. Its national side was designed by Rytas Jonas Belevičius. The common side of the coin is the same as of circulation coins.
The mintage of the coin dedicated to the Hill of Crosses is 500,000 pcs, of which 5,000 pcs are of BU quality in a numismatic package. The unc quality coins are exchanged according to their denomination at the Bank of Lithuania cash offices. The coins will also be available at points of sale and will be used in daily payments.