Slovak Jewish Heritage Tour
This specialized tour of Slovakia is a result of cooperation between Enjoy Slovakia DMC and the Slovak Jewish Heritage Center, a leading institution specializing in the preservation of Jewish heritage in Slovakia. The Center has developed, and now coordinates, the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route, an innovative cultural marketing tool integrating Jewish monuments into the overall tourist product of Slovakia. During the tour, which is guided by the director of the Center, you will encounter the most important sites that form the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route and learn about the complex past and present of Slovakia’s Jewish community. The rich landscape and visits to major tourist sites in Slovakia will make your trip an inspiring experience.
Day 1 – Sunday
Arrive at Vienna Airport, which is only forty minutes by coach from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. After checking in at your hotel, relax and enjoy an informal tour of Bratislava’s Jewish heritage. Formerly known as Pressburg and Pozsony, Bratislava used to be one of the most prominent centres of Jewish life in Europe. Visit the Chatam Sofer Memorial, the burial site of an important 19th century Bratislava rabbi and scholar. Continue to the Museum of Jewish Culture and the Holocaust Memorial that marks the site of Bratislava’s former Neolog synagogue. A welcome dinner at the hotel will be followed by an evening lecture with slide presentation about Jewish heritage in Slovakia.
Day 2 – Monday
This day will be dedicated to the Jewish heritage of the Bratislava region. First visit the precious nine-bay synagogue in Stupava, saved from collapse by dedicated volunteers from the JEWROPE NGO. Then continue to the Moorish-style synagogue in Malacky, designed by Bratislava-born architect Wilhelm Stiassny (1842-1910). Enjoy some free time over lunch in Trnava and then visit the former Status Quo Ante synagogue, which today serves as a centre for modern art. Trnava is an ancient university town with numerous Baroque churches. Complete the tour at the synagogue in Samorin, which is now used as a private art centre called the At Home Gallery. Return to Bratislava and enjoy dinner at the city’s Jewish-style Chez David Restaurant.
Day 3 – Tuesday
After a morning departure from Bratislava, stop over in Nitra, an ancient town and seat of bishops for more than a millennium that is considered a cradle of Slovak culture. Nitra is also known for its painstakingly restored Art Nouveau synagogue, designed by the architect Lipot Baumhorn of Budapest on the eve of World War I. From Nitra continue to Zvolen, where the Park of Generous Souls was recently established. This unique memorial commemorates those courageous Slovak citizens who died saving Jews during the Holocaust in Slovakia. Also visit Kremnicka, where Jews, POWs and partisans were murdered by the Nazis after the suppression of the Slovak National Uprising in 1944. Take a break in Banska Bystrica, the main city of central Slovakia, known for its town square with attractive burgher houses, and outdoor cafes and restaurants. Visit the Slovak National Uprising Memorial and Museum and continue to the Tatras. Dinner at hotel.
Day 4 – Wednesday
This day will highlight the most precious Jewish monuments of eastern Slovakia. You will visit the recently restored synagogue of Spisske Podhradie, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site under Spis Castle, one the largest castles in Europe. The highlight of the day will be your visit to Presov’s Orthodox synagogue, one of the most beautiful in Europe. The synagogue is used by the local Jewish community; the famous Barkany Judaica Collection is installed in the women’s gallery. Complete the day with a visit to another UNESCO-listed World Heritage location – Bardejov. The town used to be the vital Chassidic centre in eastern Slovakia prior to the Holocaust. No Jews live here today, but you may still see precious monuments of Jewish heritage, including the Old Synagogue Compound and the Bikkur Cholim Synagogue. Return to the Tatras along a different route featuring classic Slovak rural landscapes.
Day 5 – Thursday
This is a ‘day off’ from inspecting Jewish heritage sites, but you will get to see one of the most beautiful corners of Slovakia – the Zamagurie region. After a morning stopover in Kezmarok, known for its wooden Lutheran church, arrive at Cerveny Klastor, which is the gateway to the Pieniny National Park. The highlight of the day will be a guided rafting trip along the picturesque Dunajec River, which forms the border between Poland and Slovakia. Enjoy a picnic lunch with live folk music at a mountain chalet, then complete the day by visiting an open-air museum where you will see examples of typical folk architecture. Dinner at hotel.
Day 6 – Friday
After morning departure from the Tatras, you will stop over in Liptovsky Mikulas, where you can view the town’s neo-Classical synagogue from 1846. Continue to Zilina, where you will see a small exhibition of the Museum of Jewish Culture and the famous synagogue designed by German architect Peter Behrens during the 1930s. A light lunch will be served in Trencin, a charming town overlooked by a majestic castle. The local synagogue, one of the most interesting in the world, has recently been re-opened as an arts centre. Late afternoon arrival in Bratislava. Check in at hotel. Join the service at Bratislava’s Heydukova Street Synagogue and enjoy Shabbat dinner at the Jewish Community Center in Bratislava.
Day 7 – Saturday
A free day in Bratislava, which you can use to visit the city’s numerous galleries and museums. Optional Shabbat service at the synagogue, followed by Kiddush. In the afternoon enjoy a relaxed walk around the Old Town of Bratislava and pre-paid visit to the Primate’s Palace, where the Peace of Pressburg was signed in 1805. Dinner at hotel.
Day 8 – Sunday
Relax in the morning in Bratislava. Afternoon transfer to the airport for homebound flight.
Note: This is a tailor-made tour. The Slovak Jewish Heritage Tour can be organised for a closed group of a minimum of 6 participants on any given date (some date exceptions may apply). For a full proposal, send us your preferences and we will quote you a price within 2 working days.