AACI Central Europe
18 June 2018 - 27 June 2018
Locations: Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Vienna
Budapest, Vienna, and Prague are considered to be three of Central Europe’s most culturally splendid cities. Abounding in Jewish history, Central Europe is a favorite destination for the Jewish tourist. From fascinating Prague, the city that created Kafka, to Budapest, the sensuously rich capital of Hungary and to the old-world sophistication, music and coffeehouse culture of Vienna, you will feel elevated by the delights in every destination. Jewish Heritage is strong here, woven like a golden thread throughout this part of the world. You will have the feeling of being somewhere you have visited before, and find a charm only rarely experienced in the modern world.
Day 01: Monday June 18 Budapest
Arrive in Budapest and start the trip with a panoramic city tour. The city known as Budapest actually consists of three cities: Obuda, the oldest section, with Roman ruins on the Buda side of the Danube; Buda in the gently rolling hills on the western bank, famous for its historic Castle Hill and beautiful residential area; and vibrant Pest with its shopping, government and commercial districts on the flat plain of the eastern bank.
Our tour covers the major highlights of the city, showing the grandeur and Old World charm of Budapest. Visit both sides of the city: the colorful hills of Buda and the bustling businesslike boulevards of Pest. Explore the gorgeous House of Parliament, the elegant Andrassy Avenue, the impressive Heroes Square, the fascinating Market Hall, the medieval Castle District, the picturesque Fishermen’s Bastion and the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill with its magnificent panoramic view of the city. Check in to the hotel and late afternoon Danube cruise. Dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
Day 02: Tuesday June 19 Budapest
Jewish Budapest tour starts in the Castle District where the first Jews of Buda settled in the 13th century. We visit the small medieval synagogue in the former Jewish street and discover facts about life during the Turkish occupation in the 15th -17th centuries. Still on the Buda side we can visit the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews in the 2nd World War, and a memorial plaque of Gabor Sztehlo, a Hungarian Evangelical pastor who saved the lives of Jewish children and adults.
On the Pest side of the river, we walk through the former ghetto area visiting the lovely oriental building of the famous Dohany street synagogue, the third largest in the world. There is a guided tour in the Jewish Museum, a small but rich collection of objects associated with religious holidays and rituals of everyday life. A sign on the wall indicates the site of the building where Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, was born. Behind the synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial, a metallic weeping willow with names engraved on the leaves to remind us of the people who perished in the war. Passing through the courtyard of the synagogue, this was part of the ghetto and turned into a cemetery for those who were killed here. Next to the synagogue we look at the Temple of Heroes, a simple modern building erected in the 1930s in memory of the Jews who fell in the 1st World War. We visit the late art nouveau building of the Orthodox synagogue in Kazinczy Street, which is one of the main places of worship for the Orthodox community. Dinner in a local kosher restaurant.
Day 03: Wednesday June 20 Budapest
This morning we enjoy a tour of the Danube Bend.
The Danube Bend – an excursion into Hungary’s history. This is an unforgettable tour along the “Blue Danube” with stops in Visegrad, Esztergom and Szentendre.
Visegrad: we walk on the 750 year-old stones of the formal Royal Residence, learn about life in the middle ages and enjoy the fascinating panorama on the Danube valley.
Esztergom: we visit the so-called Technology & Science House built in 1888, once serving as a synagogue for Esztergom’s Jewish community, the oldest in Hungary, and now a regional government office. It was designed in Moorish Romantic style by Lipót Baumhorn, the master architect who was also responsible for the synagogues in Szeged, Szolnok and Gyöngyös.
Szentendre: On the way back we stop in the artist’s village of Szentendre. It is a small baroque city at the gate of the Danube Bend, at the meeting place of the river Danube and the Pilis Mountains, in a beautiful natural environment. We walk around the baroque settlement built on medieval ruins, and go up the narrow streets to the panorama point to see the Danube. We then simply enjoy the special atmosphere of this village. You can also take the opportunity to visit the museums (for example the world-famous Margit Kovács Ceramic Museum, the Confectionery Museum-with buildings and people made of marzipan), or you can choose to visit the shops of the village. Return to Budapest for dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
Day 04: Thursday June 21 Bratislava-Vienna
After breakfast check out of hotel and make our way to Bratislava. There we will see the tomb of Moses Schreiber (1762–1839), known to his own community and Jewish posterity in the Hebrew translation as Moshe Sofer, also known by his main work Hatam Sofer, who was one of the leading Orthodox rabbis of European Jewry in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Spend the afternoon in the beautiful old town of Bratislava.
Continue to Vienna to arrive for dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
Day 05: Friday June 22 Vienna
Vienna is a good place to have a closer look at the marks left of centuries of Jewish settlement in the country′s capital. After an almost complete extinction of Jewish life in Austria in the course of discrimination, persecution and ultimately the Holocaust, some 20,000 Jews, mostly from Eastern European countries, now populate Vienna, reviving the Jewish aspect of the city.
The Jewish community is concentrated around the Leopoldstadt, the Second District, which was first a ghetto and later a Jewish district. For tourists, however, the Jewish Museums in the Dorotheergasse and at the Judenplatz Square in the First District are more rewarding destinations.
The Jüdisches Museum in the Palais Eskeles was founded in 1896, which makes it the oldest museum of its kind in the World. Not surprisingly, though, it was closed by the Nazis in 1938 and not re-opened until 1989 – so the claim for its record age is somewhat dubious. The exhibition is arranged on four floors. On the ground floor, there is a lecture hall that has several items of Judaica on display.
The end of our day we will visit to the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace. This Baroque summer residence of the Hapsburgs, known as the “Versailles of Austria,” greets us with an opulent and impressive interior, including the magnificent ceremonial rooms in the central part of the palace.
Return to hotel to prepare for Shabbat in the Stadttemple Synagogue and enjoy delicious Shabbat dinner.
Day 06: Shabbat June 23 Vienna
Tefillot in Stadttemple Synagogue and Seudat Shabbat with community. Walking tour. End Shabbat with Seudah Shlishit.
Day 07: Sunday June 24 Brno
Bid farewell to Vienna and make our way to Prague, via Brno. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, and an important cultural center in its own right. We will tour the city and its important sites, including the synagogue and cemetery, with the informative Jewish Information Center.
Continue to Prague. Upon arrival enjoy an orientation bus tour. Enjoy dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
Day 08: Monday June 25 Prague
Start the morning with a walking tour of Vaclav Square, founded by Charles IV in 1348. Then, continue toward the old city surrounded by walls and fortifications. This lovely area has been declared a world heritage site. We will view the Powder Gate, the old town square, the “clock square”, the famous astronomical clock and the Church of Tyne. We will continue toward the Vltava River, the longest river in the Czech Republic, and enjoy a leisurely cruise on the river.
We will tour the Jewish Quarter which is part of Prague’s Old Town and forms a self-contained area that can easily be covered on foot. The district was named Josefov after Emperor Josef II and was added to Prague’s historical center in 1850. Prague’s Jewish population has lived in this area for centuries but was nearly wiped out during World War II. We will visit the Jewish cemetery and a number of synagogues – the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, that serves as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust with almost 80,000 names inscribed on its walls, and the Spanish Synagogue. All of the synagogues have been beautifully restored and house priceless exhibits collected throughout the past. We will visit Kafka’s House. We will walk across the Charles Bridge which represents the interesting history of this oldest preserved connecting line between both Prague embankments. Special attention will be given not only to its beautiful sculptural decoration, but also to the Old Town and Lesser Quarter bridge towers.
Dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
Day 09 Tuesday June 26 Terezin
After breakfast, depart Prague for Lidice, the Czech town destroyed by Hitler, and visit the extraordinary new multi-media museum and children’s monument. Travel to Terezin to visit what the Nazis called the “Model Concentration Camp”. Tour the fortress and the recently discovered Holocaust-era secret synagogue of the Danish Jews. Dinner at a local kosher restaurant. Then we depart for our return flight.
Itinerary Subject to Change
|Price: AACI members per person in a double room € 2979
Non-AACI members € 3029 per person in a double room
Single supplement € 775
This trip includes:
- Flights on ElAl from and return to Israel
- 8 nights deluxe hotels
- Meals: Full board, breakfast and dinner daily with provisions for making sandwiches for lunch
- Transportation in air-conditioned coach as per itinerary
- Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees
- Tour leader from Israel
- Porterage of one bag per person at hotels
- AACI staff escort
- Any item of a personal nature
- Any other items not mentioned in ‘Price Includes’
- Travel/Medical insurance
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY April 16th AND WILL BE CHARGED TO YOUR CREDIT CARD AUTOMATICALLY WITH OUT PRIOR NOTICE.
Deposit of 400 Euro due at time of registration.
*Cancellation from time of registration until April 16th 2018: 200 Euro per person.
*Cancellation between April 17th until May 7th 2018: 1000 Euro
*Cancellation from May 8th until May 28th 2018: 2000 Euro
* Cancellation from May 29th to day of departure: 100%