Vilnius has been a fortified town ever since its early days, and the town has been immediately provided with defence walls and gates, as all medieval villages. The gate was part of this defence complex, which originally included 9 gates. Unfortunately the other 8 access gates were destroyed at the end of the 18th century by the Soviet occupation army. Only the Gate of dawn remained standing, and was used as a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Today this is an important place of pilgrimage for both Catholic and Orthodox people.