Flights to Siauliai
Siauliai is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania and the fourth largest city of the country. It’s located in the north, and is unofficially known as the capital of Northern Lithuania. Siauliai has several tourist attractions, the most famous of which is the Hill of Crosses.
The Siauliai International Airport (airport code: SQQ) isn’t accepting commercial traffic for flights to Siauliai so you would be better off arriving in Riga instead. The Riga International Airport (code: RIX) is about 115 kilometres away. From South Africa you can get one-stop flights to Siauliai, arriving in Riga, with South African Airways or Lufthansa. They both have the same transfer in Frankfurt. If you fly with KLM instead, you will have a connection in Amsterdam for the roughly 16 hour flight.
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The Tourist Attractions of Siauliai:
Siauliai is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. It was established in 1236, at the same time that the battle of Saule took place very near by to what is now the city of Siauliai. The settlement grew in the 1400’s with agriculture being the driving force behind its growth and the economy but the city was devastated in the 17th and 18th centuries by huge losses during the Plague and destruction during The Deluge. Siauliai was rebuilt, with streets organised in a grid pattern, and grand buildings were constructed, some of which can still be seen today.
The Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses is Siauliai’s most famous landmark and a popular tourist attraction and site of pilgrimage. Strictly speaking it’s not within Siauliai, but is located 12 kilometres outside the city, and as the name suggests, it is a hill that’s absolutely full of crosses (in the religious sense of the word).
It is estimated that there are around 100,000 crosses here, varying from towering crucifixes, to the Virgin Mary, all the way down to the tiniest little crosses and rosaries, all brought here by Catholics on pilgrimages. It’s thought that the act of bringing a cross started after the 1831 Uprising and has continued ever since. Because the hill is under nobody’s jurisdiction, anyone can visit and place a cross or other religious momento here. In 1993 the Hill of Crosses was visited by Pope John Paul and there’s an inscribed stone that commemorates this event.
Usually known as simply Siauliai Cathedral, the official name is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, and it’s a beautiful building in the centre of Siauliai. A wooden church stood on this site between 1445 and 1634 when the stone built church, now the cathedral, replaced it. The whitewashed stonework and tall tower make this the most prominent landmark in the city centre.
Museums in Siauliai
Tourists seeking some culture will enjoy the numerous museums in Siauliai. They cover a broad variety of subjects, and include The Bicycle Museum, the Railway Museum, the Photography Museum, and even the Cat’s Museum, to name just a few!
Siauliai is also quite famous for its sculptures that are located all over the city. Some are only small, while others are significant landmarks such as the Golden Boy, and the Iron Fox.
When Should You Visit?:
Siauliai is best visited during the summer months when you’ll enjoy warm temperatures, but nothing too hot. The average high temperature in July is 18C, so very comfortable for sightseeing. Winters on the other hand are cold and January is the coldest month – the average high then is -7C.