DAY 1 Arrival in Vilnius. Private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
DAY 2 Vilnius (in Yiddish: Vilne) 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 Vilne had become the world center of traditional Talmudic learning, eventually becoming known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania, or more generally, the Jerusalem of the North. Short introduction to Jewish history of Lithuania.Drive to Trakai – the ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, not far from Vilnius, which is famous for its island castle. Overnight in Vilnius.
DAY 3 Vilnius city tour includes the Old Town (placed into UNESCO Heritage list) with it‘s main historical and architectural monuments: the Cathedral and University campus, the Gothic corner and the Dawn Gate, St. Peter and Paul’s Church and the Parliament. Medieval Jewish quarter its lanes and courts, Gaon and Jewish streets, the history of Great Vilna Synagogue, the personality of Gaon of Vilna. World famous Jewish printing house “Widow and Brothers Romm”. Ghettos of Vilna where more than 40.000 Jews were concentrated in 1941- 1943, the building of Judenrath of the Rudininku street. Also visit to the Jewish State Museum. The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum is a national, government-financed institution that collects, conserves, investigates, restores and exhi bits the historical, material and spiritual heritage of Lithuanian Jews, traditional and modern Jewish objects of art and documents and objects connected with the Holocaust.
DAY 4 Morning departure to Kaunas. Hotel accommodation. Sightseeing tour of Kaunas Old Town, – second largest city and the capital of Lithuania between the World Wars. The tour includes: the Old Town of Kaunas, castle ruins, the Town Hall Square, the Cathedral and the Perkunas House. Visit Ciurlionis Art Museum. Visit to former Kaunas Jewish ghetto; Sugihara Center; Kaunas Choral Synagogue. Kaunas Choral Synagogue is striking for its black and golden colors, as well as its Children’s Memorial. From Synagogue you’ll be able to pass the house where the poet Leah Goldberg once lived, and visit the area that once contained the vibrant Jewish Ghetto, ultimately incinerated by the Nazis. Also you will visit the Ninth Fort Museum, a former death site of thousands of Jewish nationals during the World War II. Visit the Museum within the fort, and pay respects at the memorials on the open grounds which surround it. Overnight in Kaunas.
DAY 5 Morning departure to Riga (Latvia). En route stops in Kedainiai and Rundale Palace. Visit to Kedainiai synagogue. The new synagogue was built in the middle of the 19th century. It was built by the town’s richest tailor I. Vilneris. It is a two-story building. Men would pray on the first floor and women on the second floor. Two memorial tables in Lithuanian and Hebrew were placed on the wall of this synagogue in memory of the great Jewish religious thinker Gaon Elijahu of Vilnius. The old Kedainiai synagogue stands at the same place. Later trip to Rundale palace in Latvia, created by legendary architect B. Rastrelli, with Baroque rose garden. Afternoon arrival in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Hotel accommodation.
DAY 6 Day to get acquainted with charming Old town of Riga and city, while strolling through the cobble-stone, picturesque streets of the Old Town. 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. Later 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. Then stop at the site of the Jewish Ghetto, where only small traces remain of the brave Jewish life within. Overnight in Riga.
DAY 7 Drive alongside the Riga Bay to Tallinn. En route stop in one of the mostbeautiful cities in Latvia – Sigulda, located in the picturesque Gauja Valley dotted with caves and castles. Visit Turaida museum reserve with Turaida castle. Late afternoon arrival to Estonia’s capital. Hotel accommodation.
DAY 8 This morning, enjoy a tour of the charming city of Tallinn, Estonia, rated by several travel magazines as one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, 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 thousand year-old history. Walk past the impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral to the Town Hall Square. Continue to the intimate Tallinn Jewish Center for coffee, tea, and cake, before entering the lively Lower Town. Visit Synagogue. Free time to browse and relax before driving to the Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great of Russia, now the home of the President of Estonia. Overnight in Tallinn.
DAY 9 End of the tour. Departure.