Arrival in Vilnius. Meeting, assistance and transfer to the hotel. Jewish Heritage of Lithuania Belarus and Poland tour will begin with a walking along the main street of Vilnius – Gediminas Avenue. Continue for the Hill of Three Crosses to enjoy the fascinating panoramic view of the city.
Visit to the pearl of Vilnius Baroque – St. Peter and Paul Church. Vilnius Old city including Cathedral Square and its Neo-Classical Cathedral built in early 18 cent. Old Vilnius University Campus and the Library dating 16th cent. Presidential Palace, Amber Museum, City Hall Square and the “Gate of Dawn” of Vilnius city. Welcome dinner in Vilnius.
A tour of Trakai, the ancient Lithuanian capital, famous for the lakes and sights of the area. See a 14th-century insular castle with a museum of Lithuanian history and the mode of life of different states and ethnic groups. Karaite museum and the story of this small ethnic group (confessing Judaism), brought from Crimea about 600 years ago.
Day 3. Vilnius
Visit the only functioning Vilna Synagogue. Visit to the location of the Ramailes Yeshiva in Vilna. Walking in the Old Jewish quarter: narrow streets and courtyards of the middle-age Ghetto; the Great Vilna Synagogue and the shulhoyf; Vilna Gaon – the great Jewish scholar; Vilna – center of the struggle between “mitnagdim” and “hasidim”; the famous Jewish sculptor Mordekhai Antokolski; the area of the Large Ghetto; the courtyard of Judenrat; the fight of the Ghetto prisoners against the Nazis. Ghetto Theatre as the center of Spiritual resistance during the Nazi occupation.
Day tour of Kaunas (Kovna), the interim capital of pre-war Lithuania, includes visit to the Art Gallery of M. K. Ciurlionis, the outstanding Lithuanian artist, and composer, charming Old city with its classical City Hall square, L. Zamenhof and A. Mapu streets; Slobodka – Jewish suburb of Kaunas and the ghetto during WWII, the Old Jewish cemetery. See the building of the famous Slobodka Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Nathan Zvi Finkel. The Musar movement and the influence of R’ Israel Salanter on Slobodka Yeshiva. The personality of Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Spector, after whom was named RIETS, part of Yeshiva University in New York. Kovna Choral Synagogue and the Children’s Memorial in its courtyard. Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese consul in Kaunas in 1940, who issued several thousand lifesaving visas for the Jewish refugees from Poland.
Morning drive to Belarus to visit the famous yeshivas that existed here before the Holocaust. See Radin, a small town, where Chafetz Chayim founded the Yeshiva, which attracted students from all over Europe. The Jewish cemetery and the matzevah of Chafetz Chayim and the memorial to the local Jews murdered during WWII. Visit Volozhyn and the renowned Yeshiva established in 1803 by Rabbi Hayim Volozhiner, a disciple of the Gaon of Vilna. A fire swept Volozhyn in the middle of the 19th c., but the “Mother of Yeshivas” was untouched.
Visit “Yama” – the memorial for Jews perished in Minsk during the Nazi occupation. The obelisk was built on the exact spot where five thousand Jews were slaughtered. Visit Minsk Synagogue. A walk in the small part of the Old Town the only one survived of the pre-war Minsk. The area of the ghetto in Minsk.
Drive to Mir, where a world-renowned yeshiva, that numbered about five hundred students from around the world was established in 1815. One can see in the same area the buildings of the former yeshiva and three synagogues. The old Jewish cemetery of Mir. Memorial for the Jewish inhabitants murdered during WWII. Visit the medieval Dukes’ Radziwill castle of Mir built in 1495.
Depart for Novogrudok – once the center of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. Here Rabbi Yosef Yoizel Horowitz served as Rosh Yeshiva of Novardok. The story of the escape of 233 ghetto prisoners to the partisans. Drive to Grodno, once a patrimony of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas who issued a “Permit of Residence” for the Jews in Lithuania in 1388. Walking tour in the old part of Grodno includes the medieval castle and the streets of the former Jewish quarter, the area of the Ghetto, the old Jewish cemetery, and finally, the fascinating Great Synagogue of Grodno.
Morning drive to the Polish border. The first stop in Poland will be in Bialystok – hometown of Ludwig Zamenhof. Visit the street named after him. Walk through the main square, Catholic Basilica, Noble family palace and Priest Popieliuszko Memorial. Walk into the side courtyard to see the memorial of the Burnt Synagogue. Continue to Treblinka – one of the biggest extermination camps in Poland. Visit the museum and the Memorial. Arrival to Warsaw.
Palace of Culture and Science (Palac Kultury i Nauki) located in the very new center of Warsaw. Janucz Korczak Monument, Nozhik Synagogue – the only active in Warsaw, Jewish Shalom theatre, few dwelling houses on Prozna street – remnants of lost Warsaw, Ghetto Wall remnant, New Jewish Cemetery – an open book of Polish Jewish history, ghetto territory and Anlilewitz street, Umschlagplatz – former train station from which the big deportation was realized, Ghetto Heroes road – walk along two streets marked by stones with names of Jewish resistance leaders, Bunker of Jewish insurgents on former Mila 18 str. And a memorial of Ghetto Heroes’ Square with a modern museum of Jewish history.
Morning visit to Lazenki park and Belvedere Palace with Chopin Monument and Presidential residence.
Drive along the Royal Route; restored the total destruction during WWII. “Stare Miasto” (Old Town) including Royal Castle, Statue of Sigismund Vasa the Third, Old town market Square with a statue of “Sirenka” – symbol of Warsaw, panoramic view of Vistula river and the new city, Royal Castle, Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist and the Little Insurgent Monument next to Warsaw Barbacan and the memorial of Warsaw Uprising.
Destination Management Company JeruLita operates private tours and 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.