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Balkan Jewish Heritage - 15 Days Tour
Total traveling time* - 25 hours
Total traveling distance - 860 miles - 1.385 Km
The "Balkan Jewish Heritage" tour is about Jewish history in the Balkans. This magnificent and breathtaking tour includes visiting Albania, Montenegro, Greece, Macedonia, and Kosovo. This eye-opening tour starts and ends in Tirana, Albania, the only country in the world where Germans killed not a single Jew during WW2. The Albanians are the only nation in the world to have protected the Jew like their own family members thanks to their BESA. This tour is for people interested in discovering the Jewish community's culture, history, and lifestyle with the Albanians that are now spread in five countries. This tour provides access to the most significant Jewish sites and all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of those five countries, old towns, beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and the Adriatic Riviera. This is a unique opportunity to explore the Jewish and local history in a heartbreaking and magnificent history trip, enjoying the Balkan Riviera's views while traveling in breathtaking nature and tasting local food and hospitality. This is a 15 days tour, and the visits may include Kotor, Budva, Tirane, Llogora National Park, Vlore, Sarande, Butrint, Blue Eye Spring, Gjirokaster, Berat, Himare, Janina, Porto Palermo, Thessaloniki, Ohrid, Skopje, and Prizren.
Balkan Jewish Heritage
Day 1: Visiting Tirana, the Albanian Capital City This day will start by visiting the center of Tirana and Main Boulevard. We will have several short walks around the magnificent Skanderbeg Square. We will enjoy this new and modern built square and admire all the buildings surrounding it—afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Tirane. Day 2: Berat, the White Crown Berat is a UNESCO world heritage town and known as "The White City," but the locals call it the "The Crown of the Balkans." It is the oldest and the most visited place in Albania. Even those who come to Albania to enjoy the seaside get the opportunity to jump and see this gem-like city. After arrival, our day will continue visiting the "Kala" neighborhood and the "Onufri" museum, and the Jewish street. Overnight in Berat. Day 3: Back to Ancient and the Jewish Landing Port This day will start by driving to Apollonia Archaeological Park. Apollonia's site lay on the territory of the Taulanti, a cluster of Illyrian tribes that remained closely involved with the settlement for centuries. The city was said to have originally been named Gylakeia after its founder, Gylax. Still, the name was later changed to honor the god Apollon. Our day will continue with a walk on the Jewish street and around the TriPort, where the first Sephardic Jewish arrived from Spain and Portugal. Later on, we will walk around Vlore's main promenade and have a coffee break close to the sea. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Vlore. Day 4: Albanian Coastal Road On this day, we will drive deep towards south Albania via the Albanian Coastal road, which many believe to be the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastal road. Have the first stop on top of Llogora Pass and enjoy the Ionian sea's most unique view from more than 1,700 feet above the sea level, along with the breathtaking view that this Park has to offer. The next visit is in Porto Palermo, where the Ali Pasha Castle stands like a barrier in front of the blue rocky sea to protect the country. The bay of Porto Palermo once served as an important secret military submarine base, and the tunnel is still visible. The day will continue with a visit to the ruins of the 5th century BC Jewish Synagogue, the very first ever Jewish settlement in Europe. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Sarande. Day 5: Two UNESCO Gems This day will start with visiting Butrint Archaeological Park, a World-Class Unesco World Heritage site. Founded in the VII century bc by the Kaons of Epirus, it became one of the most important cities in the Ionian sea. We will visit it is the best-preserved Archaeological site in Albania and a World Class UNESCO Site. This day will continue with driving to Gjirokaster and the Argjiro Castle visit, the biggest castle in the Balkans and the second biggest in Europe. Overnight in Gjirokaster. Day 6: Romaniote Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum1* Ali Pasha Castle and Meteora Monasteries 2* This day will start with driving towards Janina, officially Ioannina, in Greece. Janina was the former Albanian capital city before 1912 when the superpowers decided to give this Albanian territory to Greece. The day will continue with visiting the old part and the 2*Ali Tepelena castle and the visit of the only 1*Romaniote Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum in the western hemisphere. 2* Drive to Meteora and visit the Monasteries. 1*Overnight in Janina. 2* Overnight in Meteora *Subject to the availability of the Romaniote museum personnel Day 7: Thessaloniki Synagogue Today we will hit the road toward Thessaloniki, where the biggest Sephardic Jewish arrived from Spain. We will visit the beauties of the town along with two Synagogues in the city. Overnight in Thessaloniki. Day 8: Manastir, the biggest Jewish settlement in Macedonia Today we will enter Macedonia and visit Manastir, aka Bitola. This is the place where there is a big Jewish cemetery and has, for a long time, been one of the biggest Jewish communities in the Balkans. Overnight in Manastir - Bitola. This city is also important for the Albanians as their Alphabet was established in the Congress of Manastir in 1908. Day 8: The Ilirian Lychnidos - Ohrid Today we will drive deeper into Macedonia to visit Ohrid. In antiquity, the city was known under the ancient Illyrian name -Lychnidos, meaning "city of light."By 879 AD, the town was no longer called Lychnidos. Still, it was referred to by the assimilated native people as Ohrid from the Slavic words vohrid, meaning "on the hill," as the ancient town was at the top of the hill. Visit the Old town and the Amphitheater. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Ohrid. Day 9: Mother Teresa Birthplace This day will drive towards Skopje, the birthplace of Mother Teresa and the Macedonian Capital city of big contrasts. We will visit the Holocaust Museum and the "Aleksandar" square, the stone bridge, and the old town and enjoy local food at a traditional restaur