Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sculpture: Hill of Witches

This forest in Juodkrantė, Lithuania is alive with a vast array of fairy-tale creatures, including demons,  kings, princesses, and witches.  Known as the Hill of Witches ("Raganų kalnas"), this public trail through the woods takes visitors on a trip through the most well-known legends and stories in Lithuanian folk history.

Work began in 1979 on the sculpture park, and it now features over 80 different wooden carvings from local artists. Each beautifully hand-crafted sculpture depicts a popular character from folk and pagan traditions of Lithuania. The public park got its name long before the sculptures were placed along the wooded trails, and is in fact a reference to the pagan celebrations that take place on the hill during the Midsummer’s Eve Festival.

Each year on June 24th, people across Lithuania dance, sing and bring in the midsummer with the older folk traditions of the country. After Christianity came to Lithuania, the celebration was renamed Saint Jonas’ Festival, but many of the practices still have pagan roots, as echoed by the fantastic Hill of Witches sculptures.

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