Jewish Cultural & Historical Heritage

Jewish Cultural & Historical Heritage

Croatia & Bosnia and Herzegovina

On this 14-day tour, you will have the chance to visit the most important Jewish sites in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Day 1: ZAGREB ARRIVAL

Arrive at the Zagreb airport. Meet your tour director at the airport. Private transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 2: ZAGREB SIGHTSEEING

Breakfast at the hotel. You will get your first glimpse of Zagreb by car. One of the highlights of the drive is the Mirogoj Cemetery, said to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Due to its architectural design, it's amongst the most notable landmarks of Zagreb. The cemetery is the resting place of all religious groups and many famous Croats. Stop by the statue of Moses by Antun Augustinčić in the Jewish part of the cemetery. We return to the city center via the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, while introducing you to the life stories of composers Vatroslav Lisinski (Ignatius Fuchs) and Francis Klein. The walking tour starts on Kaptol where the Cathedral of St. Stephen and Archbishop’s towers and halls are located. Only a few steps away and we’ll be on Dolac Market, popularly referred to as Zagreb’s belly, with busy indoor food halls and an even busier outdoor fruit and vegetable market. After experiencing the local way of grocery shopping, we continue towards Tkalciceva Street, a pedestrian zone where locals and visitors enjoy ­­its numerous restaurants, bars, and galleries. The tour continues up Radićeva Street to the Stone Gate – the remains of the medieval city walls. Leaving the Stone Gate, you will encounter a different, enchanting Zagreb that will bring you back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The Lotrscak Tower proudly watches over the Lower Town and its cannon is fired every day at noon sharp. Step-by-step, you will discover all major sights here: St. Catherine’s Square and its baroque church, St. Mark’s Square with the House of Parliament and Government, and St. Mark’s Church with its picturesque tiled roof. In 1526, an expulsion order by Ferdinand I, which was linked to the conversion of most of Croatia into a “military zone,” put an end to the existence of Jews in medieval times in Zagreb, and for more than two centuries no Jews lived there or frequented the city. New Jewish settlers arrived in Croatia in the mid-18th century from Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary and about 50 families lived in Zagreb in the 1840s. Take a walk through Krvavi most, Dolac Market, and Stara Vlaška Street where Jewish traders lived in communities founded in 1806. Have a coffee at the Johann Franck café bar and be introduced to the story of Hermann Johann Franck, a German Jew who invented "cikoria" as a coffee substitute and built the coffee processing plant that still operates under its original name “Franck”. Before you experience one of the shortest funicular rides in the world, stop by Prva hrvatska štedionica and the Old Synagogue and learn about Francis Klein, an architect from Vienna, designer of many of Zagreb’s landmarks. Once you step off the funicular, the walking tour continues following the streets of the Lower Town. Free time for lunch and time on your own. The tour continues to Republic Square, home to three important landmarks of Zagreb: the Mimara Museum, Croatian National Theatre, and Zagreb University. Visit the Jewish community center in Zagreb. Overnight stay.

Day 3: ZAGREB – JASENOVAC – OSIJEK

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to Jasenovac, "the Auschwitz of the Balkans", one of the largest concentration camps in Europe. Jasenovac concentration camp was created by the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet state during World War II, and imprisoned primarily Orthodox Serbs, as well as Jews and Roma people. The reinforced concrete memorial, erected in 1966 and designed by Bogdan Bogdanović, is in the shape of a huge flower. Transfer to Osijek. Afternoon sightseeing of Osijek. Osijek is known for its baroque architecture, outdoor spaces, and ample recreational opportunities. The most important sights in the city include the main square, the 18th-century Baroque citadel, and the promenade along the Drava River. Osijek’s fortress complex was built in the 18th century with impressive defensive walls and town gates, a Romanic nucleus, and rectangular Main Square, making Osijek the most important military, economic, administrative, and cultural center of Slavonia, which it remains to this date.  Jews lived here in antiquity; there may have been a synagogue already in the 3rd century. In the late 19th century, Jews formed nearly nine percent of the entire population, the largest such community in the country. There is a Holocaust Memorial in the city park near the Jewish community office, a representation of a Mother and Child, designed by the Osijek-born Jewish sculptor Oscar Nemon (1906-1985). Visit the lower town synagogue whose design combines neo-Romanesque and neo-Moorish elements built in 1903, designed by W.C. Hofbauer. Rented and then sold by the Jewish community, it has been used as a Pentecostal church for decades but remains in good condition. The tablets of the Ten Commandments can still be seen – below the crucifix – at the summit of the main façade. Also visit the center of the Jewish community in Osijek. Overnight stay.        

Day 4: OSIJEK – ILOK – VUKOVAR – OSIJEK

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, leave for Ilok, the easternmost town and municipality in Croatia. Located in the Syrmia region, it lies on a hill overlooking the Danube and forms the border with Vojvodina. After sightseeing and visiting the Museum of Ilok, a wine tasting takes place in the Old Cellars of Ilok. Continue to Vukovar, the town of heroes, heavily damaged during the Croatian Homeland War. Visit the Memorial Center of the Croatian Homeland War. Return to Osijek. Dinner & an overnight stay.

Day 5: OSIJEK – JAJCE – SARAJEVO

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to the town of Jajce in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jajce was first built in the 14th century and was the capital of the independent Bosnian kingdom. The town fortifications, castle, and city gates have been well preserved. Jajce is also famous for its beautiful waterfall where the Pliva River meets the Vrbas River. Continue to Sarajevo. Overnight stay.

Day 6: SARAJEVO

Breakfast at the hotel. Sightseeing of Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The city is historically famous for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, where Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Judaism co-existed for centuries. Due to this long and rich religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo is often called the “Jerusalem of Europe”. Visit the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Sarajevo Haggadah is located. It is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, originating in Barcelona around 1350. The Sarajevo Haggadah has survived many close encounters with destruction. Historians believe that it was taken out of Spain by Spanish Jews who were expelled by the Alhambra Decree in 1492. Overnight stay.

Day 7: SARAJEVO – MOSTAR

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to Mostar. Sightseeing of Mostar, situated on the Neretva River. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (in the vernacular: mostari) who guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva in medieval times. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognized landmarks and is considered to be one of the most prominent pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. Visit the synagogue from the 19th century. Overnight stay.        

Day 8: MOSTAR – BLAGAJ – POCITELJ - DUBROVNIK

After breakfast at the hotel, departure for Blagaj, a village town near Mostar situated at the spring of the Buna River. Blagaj is home to the Dervish Monastery, which was erected around 1520. The monastery with its mix of Ottoman and Mediterranean architectural styles is a listed national monument. Arrival in Pocitelj, called the "City of Stone" by the Nobel Prize-winning writer Ivo Andric. Pocitelj is a splendid Ottoman city dating back to the Middle Ages. Pocitelj is a genuine, open-air museum and a much-cherished place by numerous artists who find inspiration for their artistic works in this enchanting landscape. Continue to Dubrovnik. Overnight stay.

Day 9: DUBROVNIK

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning sightseeing of Dubrovnik. This ancient city under UNESCO protection surrounded by ramparts and fortresses abounds in architectural and cultural masterpieces carefully preserved for centuries. A pleasant walk will take you to the Rector’s Palace, and the Dominican Monastery housing a rich collection of medieval paintings. Continuing along the central city street – Stradun – you will have a chance to visit the Franciscan Monastery and other intriguing sites. Jewish people settled in Dubrovnik in the 15th century and made an important cultural contribution to the development of the Republic. This walk provides an opportunity to understand Jewish life in Dubrovnik and how it has changed throughout history. The walk starts in front of Onofrio’s Fountain and continues along Stradun, the main street, to Zudioska Street, where the Jewish community was once situated. Here, in this street, you will visit the famous Synagogue established in the 15th century, re-built in 1652, which is amongst the oldest synagogues still in use in Europe. Afternoon free. Overnight stay.             

Day 10: DUBROVNIK - SPLIT

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure for Split through the scenic Neretva County. Visit a local farm in the Neretva Valley. The Neretva is the largest river in the eastern part of the Adriatic basin. One of the most valuable natural resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is its hydro potential and abundant wellsprings. Arrival in Split. Evening free. Overnight stay.    

Day 11: SPLIT – TROGIR - SPLIT

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the historical center and remains of Diocletian’s Palace (on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1979), built between the late 3rd and the early 4th century A.D. The cathedral was built in the Middle Ages, using materials from the ancient mausoleum. The rest of the protected area consists of 12th and 13th-century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th-century Gothic palaces, and other palaces in the Renaissance and Baroque style.  Only a few steps away is one of Europe’s oldest, still active, synagogues. It was built in the 16th century, in the former Jewish ghetto. The present appearance of the interior was constructed around 1728. The most sacred place of worship, the Aron Hakodesh, facing Jerusalem and made in the Classicist style of black and white marble, is built into the western wall of Diocletian’s Palace. The tour continues to the old Jewish cemetery built in 1573 on the eastern slopes of the Marjan Hill, overlooking the city. It is within walking distance from the city center, some 10-15 minutes of a slow walk uphill. The cemetery offers a unique journey into the past. There are over 700 graves with well-preserved tombstones that date back to the 18th century with engravings that can still be read. The last burial at this cemetery took place in 1945, after which it was closed and became a protected cultural monument. Today’s Jewish community uses the Jewish section of the public cemetery in Lovrinac, where there is also a Holocaust memorial. Afternoon transfer to Trogir, a town museum. Fans of cultural and historical monuments, art, architecture, and narrow streets are given the opportunity to learn about the manifold and complex architectural heritage – from a Romanesque yard to modern interiors. The unique historical core, Radovan’s portal, has been arousing excitement among visitors and travelers for centuries. Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to Hellenic times and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and private buildings and fortifications. Return to Split. Overnight stay.

Day 12: SPLIT – SIBENIK - ZADAR

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure for Sibenik, visit the famous cathedral of St. James (on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 2000). The Cathedral is testimony to the cultural exchanges between Northern Italy, Dalmatia, and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The three architects who succeeded each other in the construction of the Cathedral – Francesco di Giacomo, Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus, and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino – developed a structure built entirely from stone. They used unique techniques in the construction of the cathedral’s vaulting and its dome. Transfer to Zadar. Afternoon sightseeing of Zadar, the administrative, economic, cultural, and political center of northern Dalmatia, a region with 75,000 inhabitants situated in the heart of the Adriatic. The coast is particularly rugged and scattered with islands, with untouched nature that attracts many sailing aficionados. Zadar is a city monument, surrounded by historical ramparts, and is a treasure trove of archaeological and architectural riches from ancient and medieval times and the Renaissance. That is not to say that contemporary architectural achievements such as the first sea organs in the world cannot be found there. Overnight stay.

Day 13: ZADAR – PLITVICE - ZAGREB

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to Plitvice. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. Surrounded by densely wooded mountains, sixteen pristine lakes with crystal blue and green water lie one beneath another. Linked to each other by a string of foaming cascades and thundering waterfalls, the lakes are fed by water from a myriad of small rivers and streams. Plitvice Lakes were declared a National Park in 1949, and since 1979 they have been on UNESCO’s list of World Natural Heritage sites. Transfer to Zagreb. Overnight stay.        

Day 14: ZAGREB DEPARTURE

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the Zagreb airport. Departure flight.

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Zagreb | Dubrovnik | Sarajevo | Ljubljana
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