1. Vilnius: 3-Hour Jewish Heritage Tour
Explore Vilnius by air-conditioned minibus, with an English-speaking guide, and discover the history of the Jews in the city as you travel through the former ghettos along Žemaitijos Street, discover the Vilnius Choral Synagogue, and go to the Jewish cemetery. The story can be traced back to the 13th century. In folklore Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) were known for their love of education, no-nonsense straight-talk, and sardonic wit. They first settled in Vilna, as the capital was and still is known in Jewish culture, from around the time of its founding in 1323. By the 18th century, Vilna had become the world capital of traditional religious (Talmudic) learning, and was often referred to as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Towering over the many great Jewish figures the city has produced is the Talmudic leader, Gaon of Vilna. Some 94 percent of the Litvaks perished in the Holocaust, the highest percentage of genocide in Europe. Today, a small community of around 5,000 Litvaks make bold efforts to maintain their heritage.