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Jewish Heritage Tour in Slovakia and Poland

Jewish Heritage Tour in Slovakia and Poland, Slovakia Travel, Location This tour is suitable for everyone who is interested in rich Jewish history in Slovakia and Poland with many valuable monuments like a synagogues, cemeteries and museums.

In 6 days one can see the most interesting places of Jewish Heritage in Bratislava (the Capital of the Slovak Republic, also referred to as the beauty on the river Danube), Malacky (situated in the center of the southern part of the Záhorská Plain), Stupava, Nitra (the oldest town of Slovakia), Trnava (The oldest free royal borough Trnava was the Church "capital" of the Kingdom of Hungary for several centuries in the past), Sered, Nove Zamky and Komarno in West Slovakia.

Travelling through Zvolen in central Slovakia clients will see also some beautiful sceneries from the typical Horehornie region leading to the Spish and Saris region in the east part of Slovakia.

Tour is ending with visiting the most important place of Jewish history – Auschwitz and spendin last night in Krakow (historical royal town of Poland).

Itinerary

Day 1:

Arrival to Slovakia, accommodation in Bratislava, informal reception.

Day 2:

Bratislava Synagogue We will visit Bratislava capital of the Slovak republic and the Jewish heritage sites:

Museum of Jewish culture is the only reminder of the historic Jewish neighborhood razed in the 1960s, when the SNP Bridge was constructed. The most valuable pieces from the museum collection are two Chevra kadisha jugs from the Western Slovak town of Senica with dating from 1734 and 1776.

Chatam Sofer Memorial is dedicated to the Rabbi Moshe Schreiber who became Chief Rabbi of Bratislava in 1806. He was strictly Orthodox and headed a yeshiva in Bratislava that was considered as the prominent center of traditional Jewish learning in Europe. This famous cemetery dates back to the 17th century, when Jews were allowed to settle on the estate of the Palffy Counts. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1943, when the nearby tunnel was constructed. Only a part with 22 graves surrounding the Chatam Sofer’s tomb was preserved and rebuilted according the plans of the architect Martin Kvasnica.

Bratislava Synagogue is the only remaining synagogue in the town. It was constructed in 1923-1926, when the Jews were allowed to move out of the Judengasse district and settled throughout the city. The synagogue still serves as an active Jewish house of worship.
Malacky Synagogue is one of the most beautiful in Slovakia from 1900 built in the Moorish-style architecture. It belongs today to the municipality and is used as an art school.
Stupava Synagogue is one of the oldest in Slovakia hich was built in 1803 and represents a unique example of the nine-bay type. After a previous restoration it will be used as a central archive and book deposit for the Slovak Jewish community.

Day 3:

Trnava Synagogue We will visit the synagogue in Trnava and cemetery in Sered.

Trnava Synagogue: There were two organized Jewish communities, Orthodox and Status Quo community. Most Trnava Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and there is no active Jewish community there today. The synagogue was built in 1897 for the Status Quo Jewish community. Today the building is used as the Center for Contemporary Art of Jan Koniarek Gallery in Trnava. It also houses a Judaica exhibition in the women’s gallery.

Jewish cemetery in Sered is well preserved, established in the first half of the 19th century. It has several sections, including a group of Baroque tombstones that were moved here from an older cemetery. The cemetery is well maintained by a local business secondary schol. Inside the chapel the school has established a small Holocaust exhibition.

Day 4:

Nitra Synagogue We will visit Komarno, Nove Zamky and Nitra.

Menház – The Jewish Communal Compound in Komarno
It is the center of Jewish religious and cultural life in Komarno, built in 1896. It is a single-story, L-shaped neo-Gothic complex with synagogue. The synagogue has a charming Gothic interior with its original furniture and highly decorative cast-iron tie bars.

The Orthodox synagogue in Nove Zamky survived the World War II. and is still used as a Jewish house of worship. The original interior has been preserved, with the bimah placed strictly in the center and the women’s gallery supported by cast-iron columns along three sides of the sanctuary. A small exhibition of local Jewish history may be viewed in a seminar room opposite the synagogue.

Historically, the city of Nitra was one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Slovakia. First mentioned in a document from 1113, the Jews maintained a prosperous community throughout the Middle Ages.
During the second half of the nineteenth century Nitra had more than 3,000 Jewish residents, one quarter of the total population.
There is still a small Jewish community active in the city. The synagogue was built in 1908-1911 for the Neolog Jewish community in a mixture of Moorish, Byzantine and Art Nouveau elements. The building is now used as a center for cultural activities.

Day 5:

Zvolen cemetery We will visit town in central Slovakia – Zvolen and its Jewish cemetry and nearby Park of generous souls.
Afternoon transfer through picturesque region of Horehronie to Levoca historical town in the Spis region in north-east of Slovakia.

Day 6:

Presov Synagogue Visiting of synagogue in Spisske Podhradie from 1875 and the UNESCO site Spis Castle, the largest medieval castle in the central Europe.
It dates back to 1113 when it was built as a royal castle on an important trade route to the Baltic Sea.
Afternoon transfer to Presov historical town.
The Orthodox Jewish compound is centered on its magnificent synagogue, whose size and grandeur recall the prosperity of the community it served. The building was constructed in 1897-1898. Its interior is a real gem: designed in impressive Moorish style with richly colorful decoration, it retains much of its splendor after a painstaking restoration carried out in the 1990s. The synagogue is still active as a house of worship, but it also serves as a Jewish museum with a collection of Judaica. The collection survived the war and was conserved for decades at the State Jewish Museum in Prague. In addition to the synagogue, other buildings include the Hassidic Beit Midrash (study house), the school, the rabbinate and the community offices. In the center of the courtyard stands a Holocaust memorial. Other Jewish heritage sites in Presov include a former Neolog synagogue and three Jewish cemeteries.

Day 7:

Auschwitz Transfer to Poland and visiting Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. We will spend last night in Krakow (the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland) and do Jewish Heritage Route of Krakow.

We shall see the oldest Jewish sacred religious building in Poland which still stands along this route, the grave of a famous Rabbi which the Nazis did not dare tear down, a synagogue with stained-glass windows (a true rarity!), and the family home of the queen of cosmetics, Helena Rubinstein who hailed from Kazimierz. From the Middle Ages to the catastrophe of second world war Kraków – and especially Kazimierz – was counted among the greatest centres of Jewish activity in Europe. This route lets us discover some of its secrets.

Day 8:

Farewell and departure from Krakow.