Jewish heritage tour about Romania, Ukraine and Moldova
You kindly invite you to join us for an intriguing tour in search of the Jewish heritage in Romania, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. There are many places we are going to visit, such as synagogues, memorials, cemeteries, etc. All these sites have great historical importance and give you an idea about its outstanding Jewish background.
Arrival in Iasi. After getting accommodated we start our classical city tour by visiting the Metropolitan Church, Three Hierarchs Church, Palace of Culture and the National Theatre (built by Helmer and Fellner at the end of 19th century). We continue by visiting the Jewish Community, where a local Jew will tell us about local Jewish community life in Iasi and will show us the Jewish sites. We visit the Jewish cemetery, the Great Synagogue, where we’ll have a moment of remembrance next to the place where the pogrom took place and where the first -ever Yiddish- language theater was opened. In the evening we visit a monastery, where we’ll enjoy a blessed wine… and have the opportunity to listen to the Byzantine church music performed by a students’ choir from the Theological University of Iasi. Accommodation in a 4* hotel.
Iasi – Botosani – Dorohoi – Chernivtsi, once the capital of Bucovina and a famous Jewish centre
After spending some more time in Iasi, we leave for Botosani. Approximately 11,000 Jews were living in Botosani before World War II. Most emigrated to Israel at the onset of the war, with only a few dozen remaining. We visit:The Great Synagogue “Hoihe Sil” and the Botosani’s large Jewish Cemetery.
Further departure to Dorohoi. Only one of the two remaining synagogues is still in use in this little Moldavian town, where Jews from Poland settled in the 17th century. Today, fewer than 50 Jews live in Dorohoi. Visit of the synagogue, the Jewish Community office and the Jewish cemetery. Today we will cross the border with Ukraine and spend 2 days in Chernivtsy, the Old Bucovinian part, that was taken from Romania and given to Ukraine after the World War II. Accommodation in a 4* hotel.
FULL-DAY GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR IN CHERNIVTSI – “UKRAINIAN JERUSALEM”
Chernivtsi – a city that is by all rights considered to be “the most Jewish” city in Ukraine. In 1940 there were 78 synagogues including the splendid domed and towered Reform Temple where a choir sang every week.
We start from the Big Synagogue converted into the cinema in the Soviet times. Visit to 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 birthplace of Rose Auslaender and Paul Celan. Enter the Jewish cemetery with thousands of tombs of big historical value. If time allows we can extend the day with visits to the Sahaydachny Street – the territory of the ghetto during World War II, the Jewish History Museum of Bucovina etc. If time allows we shall visit the University of Chernivtsi (interior) that is proud to be one of the most architecturally unique buildings in whole Europe, Central Square, charming Kobylyanska street full of unique restaurants and cafes, the only Jewish school in Chernivtsi functioning nowadays and one of the first schools in Ukraine, Drama Theater, Turkish Square, “The street of the Three Synagogues” located in the heart of Ghetto, where Jewish hospital and former Jewish school are situated etc.
Today we will try also to visit the local Jewish community, to have a chat with them and find out what daily problems they face with. Same accommodation.
We begin this day by visiting the Chernivtsi Jewish cemetery on Green Street. The Jewish cemetery was established in 1866 and occupies about 14 hectares. Around 100.000 outstanding Jewish people where buried here, many of whom have played an important role in the cultural and economic development of the city.
After this visit, we will drive to the Court of Raven Ruzhinski, Tzaddik Israel Friedmann in Sadgor. Subsequently Israel Friedman moved his residence to Sadgor, which became then an Austrian territory. There, in 1845, his disciples built a huge synagogue in Moorish style, where he preached.
We will visit the Jewish Cemetery and several Jewish houses of worship, which are in a neglected state. The magnificent synagogue of Israel Friedman is a ruin, being under renovation. Return in Chernivtsi and same accommodation.
Chernivtsi – Kamianets-Podilskyi – Vinnytsia
After breakfast we leave Chernivtsi and head to Kamianets-Podilskyi (80 km). Tour of Kamianets-Podilsky castle. Further departure to ancient Vinnytsia, a pearl hidden among the golden wheat and sunflower fields, and one of the most beautiful and cultivated cities of Podolia.
The Second World War period in Vinnytsia is closely connected to Hitler’s notorious headquarters “Werwolf,” which were built in the city suburbs. To clear the territory for Fuerer’s shelter, over 40 thousand people were uprooted and, later, killed. More than fifteen thousand people, mainly those involved in the construction, were killed after their task was complete – Hitler was afraid that they would reveal the shelter’s secret location. In 1944, the headquarters were blown up, and all that remains today is a pile of concrete slabs.
During the walking tour of the city we have a stroll down the Sobornaya street, where the majority of architectural monuments of Vinnytsia are concentrated. In the evening we can admire the light and music fountain show, which is the biggest in Europe. Accommodation in 3* Hotel.
Vinnytsia – Uman
After breakfast we shall finish our tour about Vinnytsia and further depart to Uman, an another city with a rich Jewish Heritage.
Uman got its fame due to the Holocaust, that took place on August 01, 1941, when the city was occupied; around 15,000 Jews resided in the city which included refugees from the surrounding villages and towns. On October 01, 1941, a ghetto was set up in the area known as Rakivka. But October 10, 1941 (Yom Kippur) the ghetto was practically eliminated. 304 Police battalion from Kirovograd killed 5,400 Jews from Uman and captured 600.
The cemetery has been in existence since the founding of the Jewish community in the early 18th century. According to some Hasidic sources, the victims of the Uman massacre in 1768 were buried here. Visit of the cemetery and accommodation in 3* Hotel.
Uman – Bershad – Republic of Moldova
After breakfast, transfer to Bershad and sightseeing. In 1900 the Jewish population of Bershad was 4,500, out of a total population of 7,000. The community possessed one synagogue and six houses of prayer. In June, 1648, during the uprising of the Cossacks under Bohdan Khmelnytsky (Chmielnicky), the most bloodthirsty of his leaders—Maksym Kryvonis—conquered Bershad and slew all the Jews and Catholics.
Further departure to the Republic of Moldova. The first town we will drive through – Otaci – will impress you with its fancy Roma houses.
Next stop will be in Soroca town, known for its sizable Roma community. On arrival to Soroca you’ll visit shortly the fortress which is an unique monument of defensive architecture of Europe. Then we’ll drive to the Roma’ district of Soroca, famous for its “posh” palaces. Here you’ll have the possibility to visit a local family in order to get familiarized with the Roma way of life. On the way to Tipova, where we will get accommodated, if time allows, we shall visit some very interesting monasteries: Japca and Dobruja, where we will learn about the destiny of local monasteries during the Soviet Union.
Chisinau – capital of Republic of Moldova.
After breakfast departure to Chisinau. Discover Jewish Chisinau
The city tour includes:
- Chisinau Ghetto Jewish Memorial,
- Jewish Cemetery,
- Chisinau Synagogue,
- Chisinau Jewish Pogrom 1903-1905 Memorial,
- I. Manger Jewish Library,
- Jewish History Museum and Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus (KEDEM).
- Visit to the local Jewish Community, meeting the Rabbi and the Jewish Cultural Center Kedem. Free lunch and going to the downtown of Chisinau discovering other cultural monuments. Time for shopping. A visit to KEDEM – Jewish Cultutal Center and tour about the Jewish Herritage Museum. Accommodation in a 4* Hotel.
We shall continue discovering the Jewish heritage of Chisinau and transfer to airport or for those interested:
2 days extension …
Today we have a day trip to Orhei, having lunch possibility there and continue to Cricova, one of the biggest underground wine cities in Europe. For those interested we can organize a day trip to Transnistria and see this autonomous region in Rep. of Moldova where the communist and Soviet mentality is still alive.