Medieval city gates were commonly built with a religious relic to bolster their defence, at least in the mind of the locals. Things like a fragment of the true cross, a reliquary from the crown of thorns or hair of the Virgin Mary would be built into the gates in the hope of gaining favour from God. In Vilnius they went a step further, building an entire chapel into the gate, around an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, one believed to have miraculous powers.
The gate was built at the beginning of the 16th century, and is the only one of the nine city gates remaining - the others were all pulled down.
The Gate of Dawn (Medininkai Gate) is an old city-gate which was built in 1522 as part of the city's defensive walls. There used to be nine gates in total, but the others were destroyed at the end of the 18th century.
Inside the Gate of Dawn is a chapel (I didn't visit) containing an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy. It is said to have magic powers, and has been a symbol of Vilnius for centuries.
The Gate of Dawn is the only remaining gate (out of 9) from the old fortification built between 1503 and 1522 that surrounded Vilnius in the past. The Gate is nowadays a pilgrimage site. From time to time lots of people stand in front of it, looking up to the open space above the entrance, praying. Inside there is a small chapel where you'll find a picture of the Mother of Mercy. And it is said that she can make miracles!
The picture dates from the 17th century and comes from the Carmelite convent that was situated close to the city wall at that time.
The Gates of Dawn was built in the 16th century as a part of defensive fortifications for the city of Vilnius. It has significant history of religious importance with the miracle painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy. The believers believe it can perform miracle and heal sickness. The Russian spared the gate because they were afraid of the blessed painting but they destroyed the other fortified gates. The painting is beautiful and you can see it from outside. Today the gate is a pilgrimage site where many people from all over the world come to visits.
Seeing the Gates of Dawn (Ausros Vartu) is essential, even if you are not a Pink Floyd fan.
Once there were 9 gates leading into the Old Town (which, by the way, is one of the largest in Europe). This gate is the only one which remains.
The side facing the 'New Town' is quite bare of ornament, except for the 'Vytis' sculpture (a knight on a horse) which was the symbol of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for centuries. There's also what looks like an old, recently-exposed fresco....but I can find no information on this.
Ausros Vartu is Lithuania's most important place of pilgrimage. In 1671 a chapel was built above the gate and inside is the 'Madonna of the Gates of Dawn' or 'the Madonna of Mercy', a miraculous image with a gold and silver cover.
The Madonna was probably painted in the early 1600s, although the artist is unknown.
Th windows of the chapel are opened when the weather is appropriate and you can see the Madonna quite clearly. As they walk thorough the gates, most local people turn to face her and cross themselves ( I saw many do so).
There are, I understand, more than 8000 silver votive offerings in the chapel. I did not visit because there was a service of some sort going on (I think for a visiting group of pilgrims)....but if it seems respectful to do so when you visit, I think climbing the stairs to the chapel would be well worthwhile.
It is interesting, but another side of gates more known as religious place, was used for defence too and it was protection mostly from Tartar attacks. This side with holes for canons shooting and with national initials of Lithuania.
It's a religious centre of Catholics in North-East Europe. Sacred place where St Maria appeared and where was a expensive painting of St Maria. Vilnius had nine defensive gates, but this remained, because there is a chapel and no one enemy wanted to destroy it. Built in 1503-1522 with other defensive structures.
This gate which is famous all over Lithuania and abroad is one of the symbols of Vilnius. Built on the road to Medininkal it was initially called Medinikal Gate and was one of the first of the five city gates built in the 16th century. It is the only one to survive. The gate is covered with the Lithuanian Coat of Arms, inside is a chapel with a miraclous image of the Virgin Mary, painted in the 17th century. In 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the chapel and prayed here.
The Gates of Dawn are half-gate, half-chapel, an interesting combination. The gate itself is part of a defensive wall that was built in the 16th century-- it is the only remaining gate out of the original nine. Above the gate is a chapel with a very famous miraculous Madonna painting. When we visited, the chapel was packed with worshipers, and more could be seen approaching the gate on their knees to pay their respects.
The Gates of Dawn are part of early 16th century fortifications and the only gate to Vilnius that is still there. The three-tiered gates stand in the southern part of the Old Town and on their outer Rennaissance facade boast an attic adorned with gryphons bearing the arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
In the Middle Ages, a holy picture would be hung on all the gates into town on the town side. The image of the Mother of Mercy that can be seen in the chapel over the gate was originally part of a diptych, i.e. two pictures that could be closed like a book. The picture is believed to have been painted by an unknown painter between 1620 and 1630 and was based on a drawing by the Flemish painter Martin de Vos.
The painting was first displayed directly on the wall but in 1627 the first wooden chapel was erected to protect it from the elements. The chapel burnt down in a fire around 1715, but the painting was saved and soon a new brick chapel was built to replace the old one. The entrance to the chapel is through the side entrance to St Theresa's church. More about the cult of the holy painting in my Local Customs tips.
The Gates of Dawn (Ausros Vartai) used to be part of the city fortifications which were constructed in the early 16th century. Only one of the original 5 gates still exists.
It includes a little chapel which was built in 1671 by Carmelites and houses a famous holy shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Together with the "Hill of Crosses " near Siauliai, the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary are the most famous places of pilgrimage in Lithuania.
The Gates of Dawn is situated at the southeastern end of the old town. When reaching the gate from the old town, the little
chapel with the shrine can be visited through
a door on the left side.
Gates of Dawn, Ausros Vartu 12, Vilnius
The gates of Dawn contain a chapel to which a constant flow of visitors flock. In the chapel there is a famous pictures of Virgin Mary from the 17th century by an unknown artist. In 1993 it was visited by Pope John Paul II.
Constructed in the 16th century, the Gates of Dawn are the only gates of the original nine in Old Town Vilnius still intact. The Gates of Dawn can be found at the top of Vilnius’ oldest street, Ausros Vartu gatve.
I saw and walked through one of the symbols of Vilnius ? Gates of Dawn (Ausros Vartai), the last remaining city gate, several times during my stay in Vilnius.Early in the morning when there were no other tourists, just locals rushing to work and monks returning from praying (?), duirng the day when the surroundings of the gate were full of tourists trying to get good photos and in the evening when the last rays of the sun lightened it. Originally there were nine gates. In the chapel of Au?ros Vartai there is a portrait of Holy Mary, which is believed to make miracles. Chapel is pilgrimage destination to the Roman Catholics in the east still today. I don't know why I didn't go to see Holy Mary, I planned to see it but somehow I got overdose of churches and religion during my stay. Also I didn't want to interrupt people who were praying there.
Ausros Vartai was erected together with the city wall in 1503-22. Except for the top of the gate, which is Renassaince style, the gate is Gothic style. The painting of the Holy Virgin Mary is called Madonna of Vilnius and is dated back to the 1st quarter of the 17th century and is painted in Renassaince style. Since mid-17th century it is considered miraculous.
The Gate of Dawn is a 15th century gate which once stood at the edge of the city, amidst the fortified walls that ringed it. the gate contains a set of steps which lead up to 'The White Madonna' - a Renaaisance era painting which is believed to have healing powers.