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Romania's Jewish Heritage Tour

    Romania is a country with a rich Jewish heritage. It is the country that gave birth to the Nobel Prize Winner - Elie Wiesel, with many beautiful and well preserved synagogues: 98 synagogues and 802 Jewish cemeteries, at the last count. In our tour, we will be able to discover the most important Jewish sights, while we will be also delighted with one of the most famous and interesting Romanian attractions!

The guide will wait for you to the Airport. Depending your flight arrival time, we will begin a city tour of Bucharest. We will discover the capital main sights, such as: the former Royal Palace (nowadays the Art Museum), the Athenaeum, the Revolution Square, with a short presentation of our revolution from 1989, ride along Victoria Avenue, the University, the National Theater, and not the last, the Palace of Parliament, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.

In our city tour will visit the Choral Temple & the Holocaust Memorial. The Choral Temple is, for sure, the most important of Bucharest’s synagogues. It dates back from 1856. The Temple as it appears today is the result of an interior and exterior reconstruction in 1932 – 1933. The Choral Temple is one of the precious few Romanian synagogues whose architects are known. The Great Synagogue & The Holocaust Museum, founded in 1850 by a congregation of Polish Jews; the synagogue was first repaired in 1865 and adapted to electric lighting in 1915.In 1980 it was turned into the Romanian Jewish history Museum.Then, we will visit the Yesua Tova Synagogue, located downtown and built in 1827, totally renovated. 

Accommodation in a centrally located 4* hotel in Bucharest, breakfast included.

After breakfast, we will start our tour, heading to Sinaia - the beautiful mountain resort surnamed “The pearl of the Carpathians”, where will visit Peles Castle, one of Romania’s most beautiful palaces, once the summer residence of Romanian Kings, and also one of Romania’s most important museums. Peles Castle was the final resting place for several Romanian monarchs, including King Carol I, who died here in 1914, as well as King Ferdinand and Queen Maria.

Then, we will take our way to Bran village where will visit Bran Castle, well known Dracula’s Castle, an important national monument and landmark of the Romanian tourism, due not only to the beauty of the Castle and the landscape but also to the legend of Count Dracula. 

After that, we will turn our way to Brasov city where will have a city tour. Brasov is one of the most beautiful city in Romania. The main attraction is the old town - the Schei district, the medieval part with: The Black Church that houses a priceless collection of Oriental rugs as well as a 4000-pipe organ, The Town Hall Square, the Franciscan Monastery, The Central Park, The Black Tower, The White Tower, Ecaterina’s Gate, Schei Gate and the Rope Street – the narrowest street in Europe. 

We will visit also Brasov Synagogue, built in 1899. Jewish have lived in Brasov since 1807, when Rabbi Aaron Ben Jehuda was given permission to live in the city, a privilege until then granted only to Saxons. The Jewish Community of Brasov was officially founded 19 years later, followed by the first Jewish school in 1864 and the building of the Synagogue in 1901. The Jewish population of Brasov expanded rapidly to 1,280 people in 1910 and 4,000 in 1940. Today, the community has about 230 members, after many families left for Israel between World War II and 1989.  

Accommodation in a centrally located 3* hotel in Brasov, breakfast included.

Breakfast in the morning, then drive to Sighisoara, Europe’s best preserved medieval town. Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful towns in the heart of Transylvania. The whole medieval citadel is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. German architectural influences are visible throughout the entire city. Sighisoara was for several centuries a military and political stronghold. One of its most famous attractions is the Clock Tower (Council Tower), built in the 14th Century. This was the control tower of the main gate of the 2,500 foot long defensive wall.

Highlights include: Guild Tower, Venetian House (built in the 13th Century), Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) House, Antler House, Wood Covered Staircase, Hill Church, Hermann Oberth Square.

We will continue our way to Baia Mare, the gate to Maramures County. Maramures, a cradle of culture and civilization which carved its history in wood, is the place where tradition, clothes and folk art are preserved like nowhere else in Romania. Maramures is a huge outdoor museum and the everyday life of the Maramures villages remains timeless in its simplicity.Northern Romania, in particular the regions of Maramures and the Bukovina, was once home to a large Jewish community unlike any other. Hasidic Jews first settled in the poorer mountain areas of the Habsburg Empire during the 17th and 18th centuries, in the aftermath of the Chmielnicki massacres and the resultant messianic confusion. 

Accommodation in a 3* pension/hotel in Baia Mare, breakfast included.

In the morning, breakfast buffet at the hotel. After breakfast drive to Sapanta and visit the Merry Cemetery, unique in the world, amazing due to its originality. The wooden crosses, sculptured and painted by craftsman Stan Patras, turned it into an authentic museum. The colours of the crosses and the humorous texts on them capture for eternity the essential episodes of life and show the strength of the Romanian spirit, which do not fear of death.           

Then, visit the Jewish highlights: Sighet Synagogue Vizhnitzer Klaus, The Cemetery with the Monument of the Soap, Sighetul Marmatiei with the Ellie Wiesel House.
“I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone-terribly alone in a world without God and without man.” Elie Wiesel, “Night” (1958). Eliezer Wiesel (commonly known as Elie) is a world-renowned Romanian Jewish, philosopher, humanitarian, political activist, and Holocaust survivor. We shall visit the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance from Sighet. A place for prayer and meditation, which combines the antique style with a modern construction, this was built in one of the prison courtyards in 1977. The names of almost 8000 people that died in the prisons, concentration camps and deportation camps from Romania were engraved in smoked Andesite on the wall of a ramp that descends in the underground. The first rooms of the museum as well as the "Place for prayers and meditation" were inaugurated in June 1997, when the Memorial was declared “a place of national interest”.

After that, we will cross the Carpathian Mountains to Bucovina, the famous region in the north-east of Romania. The "Painted Monasteries" is the major Moldavian destination, because of the vivid and animated frescoes on their church walls. These depict Biblical and other scenes, designed in sequences almost like strip cartoons to educate the local people in the Orthodox religion. Due to their singleness, the monasteries in Bucovina are now UNESCO protected cultural sites. The art historians compare their artistic value with the mural paintings of San Marco church of Venice or the church of Orvietto. The secret of the Moldavian painters who prepared the colors and the techniques that made the paintings incredibly resistant is still a mystery.

Accommodation in a 4* pension/hotel in Gura Humorului/painted monasteries area, breakfast included.

Breakfast in the morning, then we will visit Voronet Monastery (1547, most known for the frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", these frescoes depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven". This "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488).

After Voronet, continue driving to Suceava and visit Suceava Synagogue – The Gah Synagogue was founded by the Gemilut Hasidim mutual aid society in 1870 when there were 8,000 Jewish residents in Suceava. The Synagogue was re-modeled in 1910 and restored in 1929, 1975 and 1983. Suceava was a major center of Moldavian Jewry. Then drive to Piatra Neamt – a big Jewish community, with approximately 200 Jewish people. The Great Temple, known as Leipziger Bet ha-Midrash Temple, is a big, newer, synagogue, dating from 1839. Piatra Neamt Cathedral synagogue, a historic monument, is the oldest wooden synagogue still standing in Romania. Its design is strongly influenced by local architectural tradition, sharing an evident family resemblance to the timber synagogues of Poland and Bohemia.The present wooden building was founded in 1766. Some specialists believe that the old building made from stone was founded in the 15th century. The golden altar is 250 years old, with the original ritual objects in fine condition.Visit the Jewish Cemetery, split into 2 parts, the old part with tombs dating, some of them from 17 century, and the new part.

Accommodation in a 4* hotel in Piatra Neamt, breakfast buffet included.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel, then continue our way to Brasov, via the Bicaz Gorges, gorges in the Eastern Carpathians, on the river of Bicaz, making the connection between Transylvania and Moldavia. The gorges attract many tourists by their natural beauty, being crossed by a beautiful winding road. We will pass thru Lacu Rosu (Red Lake) resort where we will have a short stop for admire the landscape, taking some nice pictures and find out the legend of this wonderful place.

In the evening, arrival in Brasov, where we will overnight in a 3* pension/hotel, right in the historical center.

Optional: a traditional dinner at Cerbul Carpatin Restaurant, with folkloric show (live music and dances) included.

Breakfast at the hotel, then time at leisure to enjoy Brasov as you wish, till our return back to Bucharest.

Drop off at your hotel in Bucharest or directly to the airport, if your departure is in the same day.

End of the tour!

DEPARTURES DATA:
All year
DURATION:
7 days/ 6 nights
RATES:

PRIVATE TOUR by car/minivan

1050 EUR/pers (group of 2 persons)

*the tour can be organized even for 1 solo traveler

*for more people traveling together, the price will be revised

SERVICES INCLUDED:
    • Professional guide assistance, English speaking (or other languages upon request), during the whole trip;
    • Transport by private modern AC car/mini-van (fuel and parking fees incl);
    • Airport/hotel pick-up/drop-off;
    • 6 night accommodation, breakfast included, in 3* and 4* hotels/pensions;
    • City tour in each city in the trip.
NOT INCLUDED:
    • Entrance fees to the touristic attractions;
    • Photography fee;
    • Meals, other than those mentioned in the itinerary;
    • Other expenses (such as souvenirs, room service, tips and so on).