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Jewish Heritage Tours
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Your Marco der Pole Team

Jewish Heritage in Eastern Europe

Jewish Heritage Tour in Ukraine.

Trip Highlights:

  • Visit to the Cave Monastery with the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine
  • Visit to Buchach, the birthplace of Simon Wisenthal and Samuel Agnon
  • Visit the National Jewish House in Chernivtsi 
  • Visit to Sharhorod - one of the few preserved Shtetls in Ukraine
  • Tour of Berdichiv - “The Jerusalem of Wolhyniens”


Itinerary:

1st day Kiev 
Arrival in Kiev. Check-in at the hotel. Sightseeing of the city following the footsteps of the Jewish community. The program includes the Podol SynagogueJewish Community CenterInternational Solomon University, houses where Sholom AleikhemGolda Meir and other personalities of Jewish culture lived. Trip to the Babi Yar Memorial, the place where the Nazis shot 100.000 people: Jews, Gypsies, and Soviet Prisoners of War. 
In the evening the program is concluded with a meeting with a representative of a Jewish community or employees of the Judaistic Institute concerning the current situation of Jews in Ukraine. 

2nd day Kiev 
Kiev referred to as “The Rome of the North” is famous for its temples and churches with golden domes. 
morning Sightseeing in the most celebrated temple complex, the Cave Monastery with the Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine with the collection of the Judaic ritual silver objects. A stroll along Khreschatik Street, Kiev’s “High Street” and time at leisure. 
evening Night train journey to Lviv in sleeping cars.

3rd day Lviv 
Lviv - over 80.000 Jews lived in this city with over 30 synagogues. There were Orthodox Jews, Hasids, liberals, Zionists, speakers of Polish, German and Yiddish. Tour following the traces of the Lviv Jews - see the oldest Golden Rose Synagogue, the Old Town and the Jewish quarter. Stop at the Jewish Centre and the synagogue, the premises of the former ghetto, and the area of the Janowski Concentration Camp where 120.000 Jews from the Lviv ghetto died. Visit Klepariv railway station where transports destined for the Belzec extermination camp were prepared, and Janowski cemetery with a huge Jewish section

4th day Drohobych
 
A day-trip to Drohobych. The city is often associated with a famous writer of Jewish origins Bruno Schulz. If available, meet Alfred Schrayer, one of the few Jews from the local ghetto who survived it. Visit the Jewish monuments and mementos that have remained in Drohobych, including Bruno Schulz’s house, and go to the Bronicki Forest where 15.000 Drohobych Jews who were murdered by the Nazis are buried in mass graves

5th day Lviv - Chortkiv - Buchach - Chernivtsi
 
Drive to Chernivtsi, via the towns of Zolochiv. The dramatic history of the community in the town was recorded in a book by a survivor Shlomo Wolkowicz. Next is Buchach, the birthplace of Simon Wisenthal and Samuel Agnon the first literary Noble prize winner writing in Yiddish. Arrival in Cortkiv, the birthplace of a renowned writer of Jewish origins, Karl Emil Franzos, which is on the way to Chernivtsi. The city was often referred to as a “Little Vienna” and “The last Western European city in the East of Europe”. Chernivtsi was a refuge of religious freedom under Austrian rule, inhabited by multiple nationalities, such as Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Romanians, and Jews. The 60.000 community consisted of Orthodox Jews, Hasids, Folkists and supporters of assimilation. The influential, cultural elite of the city were German-speakers usually of Jewish origin, Jews also occupied the top positions in Chernivtsi. Numerous exquisite Jewish authors come from the city, such as Paul CelanRose AuslaenderGregor von RezzoriElisaer Steinberg. The last one to create his works in Yiddish, Josef Burg lives there, as well. 

6th day Chernivtsi 
The visit to Chernivtsi. Start from the Big Synagogue converted into the cinema in the Soviet times. Visit the National Jewish House, where, in 1908, the first international conference of Yiddish language took place. Continue the tour to the well preserved Jewish district with one synagogue still in use, the Ghetto site, the birthplace of Rose Auslaender and Paul Celan. Enter the Jewish cemetery with thousands of tombs of big historical value. On the outskirts of Chernivtsi, in a town of Sadagora visit an ohel and the ruins of the manor known of the Hassid rabbi Israel Friedman’s miracles who was from Rhuzin dynasty. 

7th day Chernivtsi - Khotyn - Kamianets-Podilskyi - Medzhibizh - Vinnytsia
 
Departure from Chernivtsi towards Vinnytsia. Visit Khotyn en route - it used to serve as a significant Jewish center, nowadays it is a small town, yet with a unique Turkish fortress beautifully situated on the shore of the river Dniestr that marked the boundaries of the Turkish and Polish, or Muslim and Christian influences. The next point of the journey is Kamianets-Podilskyi. The city positioned on the other side of Dniestr, only 20 kilometers away from Khotyn, is a splendid combination of a city and a fortress built upon a high rock, and one of Ukraine - most spectacular monuments. 
Continue to Medzhibizh - once a major Jewish center in the Podolia region. Medzhybizh is popular with Hasids from all over the world, since the founder of Hasidism, Israel ben Elieser Ba`al Schem Tow, is buried in the local Jewish cemetery. 
In the evening reach Vinnytsia

8th day Vinnytsia - Sharhorod - Tulchyn - Bratslav 
Traveling through the picturesque eastern Podolia, we arrive in Sharhorod - one of the few preserved Shtetls in Ukraine. See the town and visit a small, private Judaic museum. Continue to Tulchyn. The town belonged to the Potocki Polish aristocratic family which left an impressive palace in it. Also, a Jewish cemetery has survived in Tulchyn, and mass graves of Jews who were shot by the Nazis in the nearby forest. The final stop today is Bratslav, formerly one of the grandest Hasidic centers. Numerous renowned rabbis are buried in the attractively situated cemetery - Rabbi Nathan Stern Herz, the son of another famous rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, is one of them. In the evening return to Vinnytsia. 

9th day Vinnytsia - Berdichiv - Zhytomyr - Kiev - Odessa
 
On the way back to Kiev stop en route in two towns which played a crucial role in the history of the Jewish people in Ukraine. The first one is Berdichiv “The Jerusalem of Wolhyniens” considered to be the capital of all Shtetls in Tzar’ Russia. Visit the synagogue there, the notable rabbi Levi Isaac’s grave, the Carmelite monastery, and St. Barbara’s Church with cellars that served the Nazis to murder many local Jews. 
Our second stop on today’s tour is Zhytomyr, once an important center of Jewish life in Ukraine. The Great Maggid of Zhytomyr, a central figure in Hasidic mysticism, is buried in the local cemetery. Nowadays all Jewish communities in western Ukraine subject to the Zhytomyr rabbi. 
In the evening arrival in Kiev which we leave for Odessa by plane or a night train. 

10th day Odessa 

The multicultural Odessa used to be a commercial metropolis where over 20 different languages were spoken. The city was the actual window on the world for the Tzar’s Russia and the USSR. 
While visiting Odessa learn about its history, see the famous Potemkin Stairs, the buildings of the Odessa Opera Theatre, the Stock Exchange, the apartment houses and palaces which belonged to the local bourgeoisie. 
Afternoon visit to the Odessa Synagogue.

11th day Odessa
 
The Odessa Jewish community was the second largest, after Warsaw, in the Russian empire. 180.000 Jews lived there before WWII, and Odessa was a lively center of modern Jewish literature and political thought and the most prominent center of Zionism. ZhabotynskiPinskerDizengoffBialikAlejchem, and Babel performed their creative activity there. 
A lot of Jewish people lived in Moldavanka, “The district of poor people” which was fabulously portrayed by Isaac Babel in his short stories. Visit Zhabotynski’s and Bialik’s houses, Moldavanka, and other spots related to Jewish history in Odessa. 
In the evening a show at the legendary Odessa Opera Theatre.

12th day Return Journey
Return flight with a change in Kiev.

Services included:

  • 1 night's accommodation in Kiev in a hotel chosen by you on bed and breakfast basis
  • 1 night's accommodation in a night train from Kiev to Lviv
  • 2 night's accommodation in Lviv in a hotel chosen by you on bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 night's accommodation in Chernivtsi in a hotel chosen by you on bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 night's accommodation in Vinnytsia in a hotel chosen by you on bed and breakfast basis
  • 3 night's accommodation in Odessa in a hotel chosen by you on bed and breakfast basis
  • All transfers as per above mentioned itinerary
  • Private English speaking guide as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for all sightseeing
  • Meals as per the itinerary

Services not included:

  • The journey to Ukraine and from Ukraine
  • Tour guide 
  • Public transport
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenditure, tips, etc.
  • All other services not mentioned in the itinerary

Price on request.

For Ukraine Jewish Heritage study tour planning, tailored specifically to your needs, please fill out our free no obligation online form. A member of our team will respond via email or phone within one business day.

For individual guests and small groups /up to 10 people/ this trip can also be booked under the particularly favorable travel conditions of our “New opening special offer”. Find out more here.