Gates of Dawn, Vilnius
No trip to Vilnius would be complete without a visit to the Gates of Dawn, one of Lithiunia's most celebrated shrines and a world-renowned cultural attraction. The Lady Gate of Dawn sanctuary welcomes pilgrims and sightseers from around the globe, receiving more than half a millions visitors every year.
One of the reasons the Gates of Dawn remains so popular is the fabulous portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary that lies within its walls. The painting, which is often also called the Vilnius Madonna, hangs in the chapel built into Gates of Dawn and has been copied by many other churches.
This History of the Gates of Dawn
The story of the Gates of Dawn begins back in the early 16th century, when five gates were built into the heavy city wall surrounding Vilnius. In one of these gates, two religious paintings were placed – a picture of the Virgin Mary on one side and one of the Saviour on the other.
In 1671, local monks built a wooden chapel over the gate to help take care of the beautiful, renaissance style painting. The other four gates have since been destroyed by fire, but the Gates of Dawn remains. Initially, the iconic spot was named the Medininkai Gate but as the painting of the Virgin Mary and her sunrise became increasingly famous, the name morphed into the one used today.
Visiting the Gates of Dawn in Vilnius
Easily found at the south western end of Vilnius' old town, the Gates of Dawn is an attraction that is well worth visiting. The gate is also decorated with the Lithuanian Coat of Arms and visitors of the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, Vilnius will be perfectly placed to take a trip to this iconic spot.
When visiting, it's worth bearing in mind that religious celebrations take place between November 10 and November 16, culminating in Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. When booking accommodation or events in Vilnius, you may want to take these special dates into consideration.