Rūdninkai Gate

In 1503 King Alexander Jagiellon granted a privilege to the residents of Vilnius to fortify the city with a defensive wall to repel the potential attackers, as at the beginning of the 16th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was facing a growing military threat from Muscovites and Crimean Tatars. According to the privilege, the wall should feature five gates – all leading to the most important cities. However, in the middle of the 17th century, the city of Vilnius had 10 gates.

The construction of the Rūdninkai gate was completed around 1522. The road behind the gate led to Grodno and further to the most important towns of Poland. The gate was well designed defensively: it had two gates to trap the enemy, and shooting holes to attack the incoming enemy from the distance. The gate was demolished in 1800.

Closure of all city gates at sunset became a ritual marking the beginning of the night. To defend the town from wandering danger many night guards suffered injuries and even was deprived of his life at their hands. The areas outside the city proper were very dangerous, even the most courageous rarely ventured beyond the gates. Learn more about the Old Vilnius after nightfall by clicking this link.

Address: Pylimo St. 46