Day 1: Vilnius - ARRIVAL
Arrival in Vilnius, transfer to hotel, check-in and free time.
Day 2: Vilnius (Vilna)
A day dedicated to explore the town once known as the “Jerusalem of the North”. Vilnius once was a place for meetings of Jewish scholars, where Yiddish Theaters abounded, and a place where Jewish community left its biggest trace in Lithuanian history. Drive to the Paneriai (Ponar) Forest to pay respects at the site where the Nazis murdered more than 70,000 Jews. Later, visit the large and well-maintained Jewish Cemetery, where many of Vilnius (Vilna) famous personalities are buried, such as the Great Vilna Gaon (Sage) and many other brilliant Lithuanian rabbis andscholars. From here, visit the small and compelling Jewish Museum, which excellently reveals the strength of Jewish culturalinfluence in Lithuania. Continue to the Great Vilnius (Vilna) Synagogue to meet with members of the small Jewish Community. See the “Cheap Houses,” made to shelter the Jewish poor. In the afternoon a walk in the former Jewish Ghetto which bears only little visible traces of its past Jewish influence.
Day 3: Vilnius – Kaunas (Kovno) – Riga
In the morning departure to Kaunas. Arrival at the center of Kaunas for a visit to the beautiful Chorale Synagogue which strikes for its black and golden colors, as well as its Children’s Memorial. Later, pass the house where the poet Leah Goldberg once lived, and visit the area that once contained the vibrant Jewish Ghetto, ultimately incinerated by the Nazis. Stand at the spot where the members of the Kaunas Ghetto once lined up and waited as Nazi officers assignedtheir fate. Some free time for a walk in the Old Town with its historic feel. In continuation a visit to the notorious Ninth Fort, where Jews were imprisoned overnight, only to be executed in the surrounding open fields the next morning. Visit the Museum within the fort, and pay respects at the memorials on the open grounds which surround it.
Departure to Riga.
Day 4: Riga
A full day sightseeing of the magnificent capital of Riga. Visit the only remaining Synagogue, which today serves as the central meeting place for the Jews of Latvia. Standing since the beginning of the 20th century, the synagogue was most likely spared from burning due to its fortunate location in the Old Town, where fires could be devastating to the surrounding buildings. Continue to the outskirts of the city for a visit to the well-maintained, Russian-inspired Jewish Cemetery. Later we will pay a visit to the Memorial to the victims of the Nazis. At this site, obscured by dense forest, the Nazis herded thousands of victims to be executed and buried in the anonymity of mass graves. Jews were brought from as far away as Austria and Germany; many Latvians and Russians were killed at this site as well. The current monument was unveiled only in 2001, and it illustrates the persistent Jewish soul and its refusal to be forgotten. Back in the city; stop at the site of the Jewish Ghetto, where only small traces remain of the brave Jewish life within. A short stroll takes you to the ruins of the Chorale Synagogue, cruelly torched by the Nazis as the entire congregation prayed inside. Later, visit the fabulous “Art Nouveau” district, where many prominent Jewish Latvians, among them the philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, once lived. Riga has one of the world’s most impressive collections of authentic Art Nouveau architecture, and uniquely offers streets whose buildings are preserved almost entirely in this early 20th Century style.
Day 5: Riga – Tallinn
In the first part of the day we will visit the small but informative Jewish Documentation Center, part of a museum which exhibits Jewish Life from the 18th Century to the present. This Center vividly illustrates how the Jews played a major role among intellectual Latvian society, and how their magnificent community was nonetheless cruelly destroyed during the Holocaust. The newest historic section of this museum illustrates how Jewish Life in Latvia was reborn after its independence; the exhibit is named: “The Jewish People Survived!”.
Departure to Tallinn. On the way short visit to the resort town of Parnu, beautifully situated on the shores of the Baltic.
Day 6: Tallinn
This day you will able to enjoy the capital of Estonia which combines medieval and modern architecture. The city has been rated by several travel magazines as one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, and placed on UNESCO’s list of “World Heritage” sites. The exploration will begin with a short panorama tour in the bus and visiting the Kadriorg park, where the Kadriorg Palace can be found. Later on we will continue by going to Old Town on top of a hill, to find breathtaking views of the tiled roofs and colorful houses below. Stroll the beautifully preserved medieval streets and become a part of Tallinn’s thousand year-old history. Walk past the impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral to the Town Hall Square. Continue to the Tallinn Jewish Center for a cup of coffe or snack before entering the lively Lower Town. In the afternoon free time for self exploration of the lovely Estonian capital.
Day 7: Tallinn - departure
Free time in the morning.
Transfer to Tallinn airport.
END OF OUR SERVICES
The tour includes:
– 6 overnights in a 3, 4 or 5 star category hotel.
– Breakfasts at the hotels.
– Arrival and departure transfers.
– Transport service during the tour.
– Entrances to Jewish Museum (Vilnius), Ninth Fort (Kaunas) and Jewish Documentation Center (Riga).
– Tour leader/driver during all tour and local guides where needed.
– Tour can be changed to meet specific requirements.