The Crucifix Road

The crucifix – Catholic Latgale’s symbol, an inseparable part of the Latgale countryside landscape, a unique work of art. First crucifixes were put up in Latgale in the 18th century. The tradition of constructing them underwent the most rapid evolution during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

A feature of Vaboles parish is that there has been and still is the largest number of crucifixes in Latvia. After the 1940’s many were destroyed. Of 44 crucifixes, only 29 remain today. The village residents gradually began to restore the crosses. In 1998 the Skrinda Museum restored 2 crucifixes in the municipality with funding from the Ministry of Culture. The oldest crosses which people can remember were simple, roughly hewn and fairly low. The simplicity was determined by the lack of time, and possibly also by the lack of skills.

The look of the crosses has changed over time. In the 1920’s, crosses with roofs began to appear. Constructed at different times, they differ both in terms of height and form. In some places they reached a height of even 4 m and had an ornately decorated roof section. Cast iron crosses with concrete foundations were widespread. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, crosses were restored using wood. Historic records witness the religious and heritage value of village crosses. The crosses by the roadside and the activities associated with them are among the oldest and most attractive traditions of Latgale.

During evenings in May, the village people gathered at the village’s crosses for public worship. Church hymns were sung and prayers were said. Singing continued till late in the evening. The crosses were richly decorated with birch boughs and flowers. The crosses in the municipality are still decorated today, but singing on May evenings only takes place by a few individual crucifixes. When researching the traditions of the past, people seek the best modern day use for those objects. Nowadays the cross is also used as a symbol on a site of remembrance. In a hilly and beautiful place at Liepu Mukāni, where the Skrinda homestead once stood, a 4 m high wooden cross and a memorial site was put up in 1990. A stone with the inscription "Skrindu māja" was created by sculptor I. Folkmanis.

56.029278, 26.466064
  • Languages spoken: 
    • English
    • Latvian
    • Russian
  • Admission fee: 
  • Payment methods: 
    • Cash
  • Guide service available
Amenities and Features: 
  • Free parking
  • WC
Working Hours: 

Open for viewing by prior arrangement.

Last updated: 28.08.2014