Arrive in Vilnius. Meeting, assistance, and transfer to the hotel. Welcome speech and meeting a guide at the hotel. Welcome dinner at national style Lithuanian Restaurant with a folk performance.
Vilnius is almost 700 years old and has the biggest old city in Eastern Europe. When we say Old City we mean the territory, which was surrounded by the defensive wall. New City [Naujamiestis] is an area, which was developed in 19 century. Modern City is the new commercial district and the residences. Our tour will concentrate on the Old and New cities as these are the major touristic areas. But also we will go off the beaten path to see also a different face of the city.
In the 16 century, Vilnius had Russian, German, Polish, Lithuanian, Jewish, Tatar population and each had its own area of residence. In the 18th cent., Vilna Gaon lived in Vilnius and made it into a center of Jewish studies. In the 19th cent. it became a center of Jewish culture, enlightenment and Zionism. Joseph Rivlin family has emigrated to Israel with other students of Vilna Gaon and today their descendant is a President of Israel.
Our tour helps people to explore the way from their roots to their lives in a western world today.
We are here to take you to the sights of the Jewish cemeteries, old settlements, central streets, Cathedral Square, Lower Duke’s Palace, Gediminas Hill, Medieval Jewish quarter, Vilna Gaon – the great Jewish scholar; the struggle between “Mitnagdim” and “Chasidim”; City Hall Square, Gates of Dawn, Uzupis district, Taharat Hakodesh Synagogue. World famous printing-house “Widow and Brothers Romm”.
Today you will have a journey, which will begin in 1323 and will finish nowadays. People outline that our city has a special atmosphere and we will do our best to show you the insights.
Today we will continue traveling in the city and will finish the day in a beautiful and cozy resort among the lakes – Trakai.
The previous day we have explored Lithuanian history until the WWII. Today we are going to pay the last tribute to the victims of communal craziness.
Big Ghetto – the courtyard of “Judenrat” and the story of Jacob Gens; the fight of the Ghetto prisoners against the Nazis; Itzik Wittenberg, Abba Kovner and other members of the resistance; Cheap Houses and the story of the labor camp and a personality of Karl Plage. Visit Paneriai Holocaust Memorial.
A tour to Trakai, the ancient Lithuanian capital and the residence of Grand Dukes of Lithuania, 28 km from Vilnius, famous for the lakes and sights of the area. The 14th-century insular castle with a museum of Lithuanian history and the mode of life of different estates and different ethnic groups. Visit the Karaites museum and the story of this small ethnic group (confessing Judaism), brought from Crimea about 600 years ago.
Departure for Kaunas, an interim capital of pre-war Lithuania. En route a stop at Zezmariai (Zhezhmer), where a remarkable Jewish community settled before the war; an example of survived wooden Synagogue. Visit the country life open-air museum in Rumsiskes representing Lithuania’s major ethnographic regions’ 18-19 century way of life, architecture, traditions, and crafts.
Tour in Kaunas, including Slabodka, a Jewish settlement in the suburb of pre-war Kaunas and ghetto during WWII, Old Jewish cemetery. Ninth Fort, the death site of thousands of Jews from Lithuania and other countries; Kovna Synagogue and Children’s Memorial in its court; the house, were Leah Goldberg, the prominent Israeli poetess, had lived; Art Gallery of M.K.Ciurlionis, the outstanding Lithuanian painter and composer; Devil’s Museum with hundreds devils’ statues.
Jews came to Lithuania from German lands about 700 years ago and reached smaller towns and shtetls by the beginning of 16th century. Later on, they have composed a certain culture – A Shtetle Jew. We will visit some shtetles to feel what Shalom Aleichem, I.B. Singer and other Jewish writers meant to tell us in their books.
Depart for Siauliai. En route a short visit to Kedainiai, a citadel of Radzivil family, one of the most powerful nobility in late middle age Lithuania and also a town where the Vilna Gaon lived and worked and where 3 synagogues have remained.
City tour of Siauliai including a Villa of Chaim Frenkel – once the richest Jew in Lithuania. Visit the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai, a symbol of Lithuanians’ resistance against foreign rule, with more than 250.000 crosses. Visit Telsiai – a nice town on the big lake. Cross the market square into the Synagogue Street and see the world famous Telz yeshiva.
Klaipeda or Memel in German. Is a relatively small but very nicely planned and kept city. It will tell us more about the confrontation between the Teutonic Knights and Lithuanian pagans, Prussian duchy, and annexation to the 3rg Reich.
Will pass through the market and stop at Synagogue Street.
Drive back to Vilnius.
Destination Management Company JeruLita operates individual private tours as well as small and medium size groups in cooperation with our partners. We will be glad to accommodate you in a private tour or will direct you to travel expert in your country who will register you to the groups we operate.