Lithuanian Jewish heritage tour

6 days / 5 nights

Vilnius - Kaunas - Riga

 

The history of Jews in Vilnius and Grand Duchy of Lithuania goes back to the 14th century. Due to its tolerance to various nationalities and religions Vilnius was known as a one-time international centre of Jewish culture and learning, often referred to as “Jerusalem of Lithuania”. Many world famous Jews originated from Lithuania itself or the territory of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Lithuanian Jews “Litvaks” make the biggest group of our clients coming to trace their roots in Lithuania and neighboring countries.

The Nazis almost wiped out Vilnius Jews. Today, the memory of the Lithuanian Jewry and its tragedy is preserved in the Vilnius Jewish State Museum, the monument in Paneriai, the IX Fort Museum in Kaunas. The tour also includes a short visit to Riga featuring its major historic sites and Jewish memorials.

Day 1 Arrival to Vilnius. Transfer to hotel. Accommodation.

Day 2 Morning Vilnius city tour. Afternoon tour to Paneriai, Jewish holocaust victims memorial.

Day 3 Trip to Trakai. On return to Vilnius a stop at the Jewish Cemetery where Vilna Gaon is buried.

Day 4 Afternoon trip to Kaunas. Overnight in Kaunas

Day 5 Departure from Kaunas to Riga. En route stop in Kedainiai (55 km from Kaunas). Upon arrival to Riga hotel accommodation.

Day 6 Morning visit to the Salaspils (18 km southeast of Riga). Transfer to the airport for a departure flight home.

Day 1

Arrival to Vilnius. Transfer to hotel. Accommodation.

Afternoon visit to the Jewish State Museum telling a tragic story of the Jewish community.

Optional    

Concert of the Jewish music ensemble.

 

Day 2

Morning Vilnius city tour includes all major architectural and historic monuments of Lithuania's capital city, among them the former sites of the Ghetto and the Great Synagogue, the street named after the Vilnius Gaon - pious and enlightened Rabbi who led the orthodox in the 18th century, the Jewish street.

Afternoon tour to Paneriai, southeast of Vilnius, the place of the Vilnius Jewry mass extermination by the Nazi.

 

Day 3

Enjoy a pleasant morning 28 km drive to Trakai, the ancient capital of Lithuania, with the 15th century Trakai Castle amidst the lakes. Trakai is also famous for Judaistic nation Karaites that live here since 14th century when Grand Duke Vytautas brought them from Crimea.

On return to Vilnius a stop at the Jewish Cemetery where Vilna Gaon is buried.

 

Day 4

Mid - day departure to Kaunas.

Afternoon tour of Kaunas includes the most interesting -architectural and historic monuments in the Old Town, Slobodka area and a  visit to the IX Fort Museum, a former death site of thousands of Jewish nationals during the World War Two.

Meeting with Jewish community of Kaunas.

Optional    

Morning visit to the Jewish Cultural Centre and/or the Jewish school.

 

Day 5

After breakfast departure from Kaunas to Riga, the capital of Latvia. En route stop in Kedainiai (55 km from Kaunas), one of the oldest towns of Lithuania and a busy 18th century Jewish centre with its own shops, synagogues, Rabi schools. Tour of Kedainiai includes a walk in the Old Town of Kedainiai, passing by the restored former synagogues, the house where Vilna Gaon lived in his childhood while he studied Talmud in Kedainiai, a visit to old Jewish cemetery and the Centre of Cultures housed in one of the former synagogues.

Upon arrival to Riga hotel accommodation.

Afternoon tour of Riga features places related to the Jewish history as well as major historic and architectural sights of Latvia’s capital city. Tour will pass by the former Zeilen Shul - now an office building, the site of the former Big Choral Synagogue, will include visits to the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum.

 

Day 6

Morning visit to the Salaspils (18 km southeast of Riga) which is remembered as the site of the Nazi concentration camp, Kurtenhof. The Salaspils Memorial which now dominates the site of the former camp honours those 100,000 Jewish men, women and children who were put to death here.

Transfer to the airport for a departure flight home.

 

Optional ancestor trip

One full day or more can be set for “root“ tours to visit towns and villages where your forefathers came from. Car transfers and guide/escort services for additional payment.