Tour Operator "Baltic Idea Generator“ invites you to join Jewish themed tours in the Baltics. Jews were an integral part of Lithuania‘s, Poland‘s, Latvia‘s and Estonia‘s societies since several centuries. It left an undeniable mark: tremendous heritage, amazing personalities, history – both fascinating and tragic. In Lithuania 2020 is designated as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania in regard to the 300th birth anniversary of the great Lithuanian Rabbi, the Litvak religious leader and the most prominent Litvak cultural representative – Vilna Gaon Elijah ben Solomon Zalman.
Don‘t miss a chance to reveal the secrets of Jewish life in the Baltics.
"It is very important for the World to know how we lived, not only how we died.”
A Vilna Ghetto survivor
BALTIC JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR ( 9 days/ 8 nights)
2019: July 19 – 27, August 16 - 24
2020: May 15 – 23, July 17 – 25, August 14 – 22, September 4 - 12
DAY 1 Friday VILNIUS. Arrival to Vilnius. Private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Friday night dinner. Overnight in centrally located 4* hotel.
DAY 2 Saturday VILNIUS. Free morning to visit synagogue service or stroll around beautiful streets of Vilnius. Afternoon Vilnius Old Town tour. Vilnius used to be a very important Jewish center in Europe. From the 14th century onwards Jews settled in the city, and by the 18th century it became the world center of traditional Talmudic learning, eventually known as the Jerusalem of the North. Pass by the baroque Vilnius university and learn about Yiddish institute. Visit Vilnius Choral Synagogue (outside), Cathedral square, St.John‘s Bell Tower, gothic corner, Medieval Jewish quarter, Ghettos where more than 40.000 Jews were concentrated in 1941- 1943. Hear the history of Great Vilna Synagogue, amazing personalities, related to Vilnius, organisations established. Overnight in Vilnius.
DAY 3 Sunday VILNIUS – PONAR – TRAKAI – VILNIUS. Morning departure to the ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Trakai. En route stop at Ponar Forest and Memorial to pay respect to the thousands of Jews, shot in the early days of the war – but (as proved by your visit) never forgotten. Learn about escape tunnel, which location was recently discovered. Later continue to Trakai, famous for the medieval insular castle and heritage of karaites ethnic minority. Get to know how it is related to Judaism. Return to Vilnius. Visit Vilna Gaon Jewish State and Samuel Bakk art museums. You will learn about Jewish life, art and Shoah in Lithuania. Drive to Vilna Gaon’s grave in the Vilna cemetery (many come here to ask for a blessing). Overnight in Vilnius.
DAY 4 Monday VILNIUS – ZIEZMARIAI – KAUNAS. Morning departure to Kaunas. En route stop at unique wooden synagogue of Ziezmariai. Later - Kaunas - second largest city of the country and the capital of Lithuania between the World Wars. During the sightseeing tour of Kaunas Old Town, you will pass by castle ruins, the Town Hall Square, Cathedral and Perkunas House. Visit former Kaunas Jewish ghetto, Kaunas Choral Synagogue, striking for its black and golden colors, as well as its Children's Memorial. Learn about great things Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara has done to save around 6000 jewish people when Holokaust started. Overnight in 4* centrally located hotel.
DAY 5 Tuesday KAUNAS – KEDAINIAI – PAKRUOJIS - RUNDALE – RIGA. Morning visit to the Ninth Fort Museum, a former death site of thousands of Jewish nationals during the World War II. Continue towards Riga (Latvia). En route stops in Kedainiai and Rundale Palace. Kedainiai is a citadel of Radzivil family, one of the most powerful nobility in late middle age Lithuania. Here Vilna Gaon lived and worked and 3 synagogues have remained. Before leaving Lithuania don‘t miss Pakruojis town. Pass by impressive manor and the second oldest wooden synagogue in Lithuania, dating 1801. Now it is renovated and belongs to the library. Travel to Rundale palace in Latvia, created by legendary architect B. Rastrelli. Afternoon arrival in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Accommodation in 4*centrally located hotel.
DAY 6 Wednesday RIGA. Day to get acquainted with charming Old town of Riga, while strolling through the cobble-stone, picturesque streets. Visit the chic "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. In the museum “Jews in Latvia” you will learn about life of Jews in this part of the world. Pass by the site of Jewish Ghetto and 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. Riga ghtetto and Latvian Holokaust museum. Overnight in Riga.
DAY 7 Thursday RIGA – TURAIDA- PARNU – TALLINN. Drive alongside the Riga Bay to Estonia’s capital city - Tallinn. Pass by part of Gauja National park and stop at Medieval Turaida castle. Another short stop at Estonia’s resort town – Parnu. Late afternoon arrival to Tallinn. Accommodation in 4* centrally located hotel.
DAY 8 Friday TALLINN. This morning, enjoy a tour of the charming city of Tallinn, rated as one of Europe's best-kept secrets by several travel and placed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites. Drive to the Old Town on top of the 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 thousands year-old history. Walk past the impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral to the Town Hall Square. Visit Tallinn‘s synagogue and learn about Estonian Jewish community life. Free afternoon to enjoy cafes, bars and get beautiful souvenirs. Overnight in Tallinn.
DAY 9 Saturday End of the tour. Private transfer to the airport. Departure.
Package price: 1300 EUR/ person in double occupancy room. Single room supplement 250 EUR.
- Accommodation with breakfast in centrally located 4* hotels
- Transport service as per itinerary including arrival/ departure transfers
- Sightseeing tours with car and English speaking guide as per itinerary
- Friday night dinner
- Admission fees: Gaon Jewish State and Samuel Bakk Museum, St.John‘s Bell Tower, Trakai castle, Ninth Fort Museum, Kaunas synagogue, Sugihara house, Pakruojis synagogue, Rundale Palace, Jews of Latvia museum, Riga’s synagogue, Turaida castle, Tallinn‘s synagogue.
- Vilnius & Kaunas city taxes
- Info package
JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR: LITHUANIA & POLAND (9 days/ 8 nights)
2020: June 26 – July 4, August 28 – September 5
DAY 1 VILNIUS. Arrival to Vilnius. You will be met by driver and taken to the hotel. Accommodation. Welcome dinner in the restaurant. Overnight in 4* centrally located hotel.
DAY 2 VILNIUS. Full day to explore Jewish Vilnius. Vilnius used to be a very important Jewish center in Europe. From the 14th century onwards Jews settled in the city, and by the 18th century Vilnius had become the world center of traditional Talmudic learning, eventually known as the Jerusalem of the North. Jewish genius Vilna Gaon was born here. City could be proud of Grand Synagogue, the biggest religious institution in Easter Europe, equal to Vatican in Catholic World. During the tour you will pass the streets of UNESCO listed Vilnius Old Town, visit Medieval Jewish quarter, Jewish ghettos, Choral synagogue, learn about the prototype of Doctor Dolittle - Zemach Shabad, one of the most famous French writters – Romain Gary. In Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum you will get to know about Jewish life, art in Lithuania, Shoah and visit newly established Samuel Bak museum. Overnight in Vilnius.
DAY 3 VILNIUS – ZIEZMARIAI – KAUNAS – VILNIUS. Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure to Kaunas. En route stop at unique wooden synagogue of Ziezmariai. Afterwards continue to the Ninth Fort Museum, a former death site of thousands of Jewish nationals during the World War II. Arrival to Kaunas - second largest city of the country and the capital of Lithuania between the World Wars. During the sightseeing tour of Kaunas Old Town, you will pass by castle ruins, the Town Hall Square, Cathedral and Perkunas House. Visit former Kaunas Jewish ghetto, Kaunas Choral Synagogue, striking for its black and golden colors, as well as its Children's Memorial. Learn about great things Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara has done to save around 6000 jewish people when Holokaust started. Return to Vilnius for overnight.
DAY 4 VILNIUS – PANERIAI – TRAKAI – BIALYSTOK. Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure to the ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Trakai. En route stop at Ponar Forest and Memorial to pay respect to the thousands of Jews, shot in the early days of the war – but (as proved by your visit) never forgotten. Learn about escape tunnel, which location was recently discovered. Later continue to Trakai, famous for the medieval insular castle and heritage of karaites ethnic minority. Get to know how it is related to Judaism. Continue to Bialystok. Evening city tour during which you visit Jewish district- Szulhof. Three surviving synagogue buildings, a few houses including Ludwik Zamenhoff family house , a few architectural details, statues and plaques as well as Jewish cemetery, mass grave of over 900 Jews murdered during ghetto liquidation and the building of former Jewish Hospital. Overnight in 4* centrally located hotel.
DAY 5 BIALYSTOK – TYKOCIN – TREBLINKA – LUBLIN. Breakfasts at the hotel. Morning departure to Tykocin. Tykocin became a typical Jewish shtetl by 1800, the population was 70% Jewish (during WWII almost all were exterminated). Today Tykocin looks the same as it did before WWII - you can still see Jewish wooden houses, one of the finest Synagogues in Poland built in 1642 (now a museum). Synagogue visit. Later continue to Treblinka Extermination camp. Museum of struggle and martyrdom. Former death camp to exterminate Polish and European Jews was established here in July 1942 (date of first transport of Jews from Warsaw’s ghetto ). During this period over 800 000 people were murdered there, which makes Treblinka second only to Auschwitz Birkenau in the number of victims. Nowadays it’s hard to believe that Treblinka was a killing center. Germans wanted to obliterate traces of their crime. Camps buildings were destroyed and the area was ploughed up and planted with lupine. In Treblinka everything is symbolic. This is a thought-provoking place where humanity reached one of its lowest points in history. During Treblinka Tour you will visit the small exhibition devoted to the extermination camp, Memorial recalling the Wailing Wall surrounded by symbolic grave stones, the Gravel Quarries, former penal labour camp (Treblinka I) and the Execution Site. Drive to Lublin for overnight.
DAY 6 LUBLIN – MUJDANEK – ZAMOSC – LUBLIN (180 km) Breakfast at the hotel. Morning tour to discover Jewish Oxford – Lublin. City once served as one of the most important centers of Jewish life: commerce, culture and scholarship in Europe. Pass by beautiful Old town, former Jewish quarter, oldest Jewish Cemetery in Poland – the Old Kirkut, building of the pre-war Academy of the Lublin Sages (Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin) and the Synagogue of the Chevra Nossim Funeral Society (Chewra Nosim). Later head to Majdanek. Once a Nazi-Germany concentration and extermination camp, today a museum and a memorial site. It is one of the best-preserved camps and it’s not as overrun with visitors as Auschwitz. While moving through the barracks and gas chambers, you will learn about the reality of the camp. Last but not least – Zamosc. Zamosc - the pearl of Renaissance where you will have the opportunity to see beautiful synagogue and building of the ritual baths (mikvah). What is interesting about the city is that until the 18th century Zamosc was the only religious community of Sephardic Jews in Poland. Later they probably became assimilated into the Ashkenazi community. Return to Lublin for overnight.
DAY 7 LUBLIN – KAZIMIERS DOLNY – WARSAW (214 km). Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure to Warsaw. En route stop at Kazimiers Dolny. It is is a charming town picturesquely situated on the right bank of the Vistula River in the hills, valleys and gorges. For years it fascinated with its unique atmosphere. Before the II World War Jews made up almost the half of the population of the city. According to the legend – the local synagogue was founded by King Casimir the Great as a gift for his beloved Esther. Stones for the construction were to come from the Western Wall in Jerusalem and parochets were sewed by Esther. Drive to Warsaw. Free afternoon. Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 8 WARSAW. Breakfast at the hotel. Sightseeing tour including the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, the Ghetto monument, Umschlagplatz, Mila 18, remains of ghetto wall, Nozyk Synagogue, Jewish Historic Institute and museum, and the old Cemetery. Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 9 WARSAW. Breakfast at the hotel. Private transfer to the airport. Departure.
Package price: 1425 EUR/ person in double occupancy room. Single room supplement 250 EUR.
- Return airport transfers
- English speaking guide’s service
- Transport service
- 8 overnights in centrally located 4* hotels
- Meals: daily breakfasts, welcome dinner
- Entrance tickets: Tolerance center and Samuel Bakk museum, IX fort museum, Kaunas Choral Synagogue, Sugihara house, Trakai castle, Tykocin synagogue museum, Treblinka museum exhibition, the Old Cemetary in Lublin, Majdanek museum, Synagogue in Zamosc, Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, Nozyk Synagogue, Jewish Historic Institute
- Vilnius city tax
- Info package