Siauliai can become a surprise for those who come to Lithuania for the first time. It was founded in 1236 and is the fourth biggest city in Lithuania by the population. But it is not so popular as Klaipeda or Kaunas.
It was first mentioned in the German Chronicles in the 13 century as the place where the Lithuanian troops under the leadership of duke Mindovg routed the army of the Teutonic Order. That battle is known in history as “the Battle of Saula”. “Saula” is the original name of modern “Siauliai”. The other hypothesis is that the name “Siauliai” originated from the Lithuanian word “shaulis”, that means a rifleman. In confirmation of this hypothesis you may visit the central square in the city which is called the Saules Likrodzhio (the translation is the Square of the Sun Clock). There is situated a column with a rifleman on its top.
Siauliai appeared as a result of a battle and its history was —Āonnected with different battles and wars. It was destroyed many times by Napoleon, Wilhelm and others. But still there are many historical buildings and monuments which were not destroyed and have been preserved till our days.
There are lots of sights in modern Siauliai. The most famous is the Cathedral of Peter and Paul with a Great Tower (its height is 70m). It is the heart of the Old City with its old streets such as Vilnaus, Yezhero and Aushros Avenue. Vilnaus street is for pedestrians only and is the most beautiful street of the city. There are lots of sculptures and museums there; among them is the Museum of “Aushra” and many others in Siauliai.
In conclusion we should mention the most famous place —Āonnected with Siauliai. This is the Hill of Crosses. It is situated 12km north from the city and is a symbol of struggle of Lithuanians for faith and freedom. The first crosses were put there more than 150 years ago by the relatives of those who were executed in 1831. Since then it has become a tradition to put crosses to memorize those who died or were killed. There are several thousands of crosses on the Hill nowadays. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage places in Lithuania